Asalaamu alaikum Danielle, my name is Fatima. I think it's great you're looking into your spiritual side. I'm going to be the word of caution here in your quest for more info on Islam: Please be careful of your sources of info, where you seek answers. Many are misleading. This is a time of vast differences within the Muslim community. And I'm not here to point out who's right and wrong. Too many of us read books written by scholars who at the end of the day are human - their work is not immune to error, or being influenced by their background.
As much as possible, learn Islam from the Quran and the example of the Prophet Muhammed (saw). Then if you have questions, sparked by reading Quran, go to scholars, other books etc.
But always take the opinions of others as simply that, opinions. What is solid, and undeniable true is what is in the Quran.
I feel Muslims today, know the books of scholars, better than they do the Quran. The same can be said of online sources. And yet, the Quran is our book of guidance free from error, written by Allah.
If you know the Quran well, you can not be misled.
Also, be wary of translations of the Quran. Meaning is lost in translation, and very few actually convey the message of the arabic Quran properly. My favourite and most trusted English transaltion is the Yusuf Ali translation. Usually a very large book, with english meanings, footnotes, historical background of the verses and more! A good one to study.
I wish you the best on your spiritual and weight loss journey.
For weight loss: Take it easy on your body. Dieting and on-off exercise does more damage to the body in the long run. Research shows that losing weight too quickly eventually causes your body to respond in such a way that if holds onto every last calorie, putting on more weight than before. And it's harder to lose than before!
Aim for gradual weight loss, letting your body get used to the new lower weight, before losing more.
The right motivations for exercise will keep you going at it everyday. And really all you need is 15 mins a day. No kidding. especially if you were pretty much sedentary before, any movement will burn up unwanted pounds.
I have this philosophy towards exercise to prevent it becoming another chore for the day: Start your journey aiming to exercise for 3 to 5 mins a day. Then add more as you get used to moving. You'll soon find you look forward to it, and do more time than planned.
I've written in more detail here;
And if you are well into your exercise routine, those 3 mins a day work well for those 'off' days when you are not in the mood. It keeps the momentum going from one day to the next.
Do push ups, several lunges, anything for 5 mins. Sometimes you'll find you want to continue for a full workout. Getting started is the hardest part.www.friniggi.com/blog/?p=60
Again I wish you all the best