It is important to know your basal metabolic rate. It is the number of calories you need to function each day at a minimal level. There is a spark article that will tell you how to calculate it. I was surprised at mine and it made me realize I have a few more calories to use each day .
Kefir - a milk product you can find in health food sections is so thick and delicious, you would think it full of fat and calories. I add 1/2 cup to my morning cereal and feel like I'm eating like a queen for only 55 calories. It is filled with probiotics, has a pleasing bite to the taste.
If at all possible, work with a personal trainer. I carved out 2 times a month from my budget. It is worth. She always motivates me, gives me new strength exercises to do at home, helps with my form and makes me feel great about strength training.
The best advice I ever read or practiced for healthy living is to find an exercise or activity that you love. You will keep doing anything that brings you joy. I love my bike!
I have a set of 5 lb and 8 lb weight, green, red and black resistance bands and a Swiss ball. All are great resources for almost any strength training I want to do. The bands were left-overs from physical therapy. The ball and weights were from a local resale store!
For every pound I lost, I put $5 in an envelope in a bureau drawer. If I gained a pound, out came the $5. I never "borrowed" from it. I only put in money when a whole pound was lost. When I reached goal I had enough to treat myself and my new body to a day at a spa!