I am 52 - and would highly recommend investing in a gym membership and get the new book "New rules of Lifting for Life" http://www.thenewrulesoflifting.com/nrol-for- life it is written for those of us older midlifers who have limitations, whether weight or bad backs, knees, joints and what not.
It is customizable to your level of fitness and the plan is very good. I've done all the New Rules books and have had teh best success in losing body fat and getting fit. Weight lifting is by far the best thing a woman can do for her body. It builds the bones, muscles and just makes life more enjoyable. I can do more today than I could do at a much younger thinner me!
Hello. I was where you are a few years ago. I am 5'7 and in 2006 weighed 218 pounds. I lost most of the weight in 2007 and weighed between 128 and 135 until last year, when I got down to 122 pounds.
Amazingly, one of my closest friends sat me down and informed me that I 'wasn't pretty' at that weight. But - when I tried to gain weight, I completely lost control and put on 20 pounds. Needless to say, I freaked. My effort to get control again, and just live a healthy life inspired me to join this site.
To be totally honest, the real secret I've found is that I must eat fresh fruits and vegetables, I must avoid sugar, simple carbs, caffeine - anything that causes spikes in my blood sugar, I must get 8 hours of sleep a night, and I must move my body around.
I've read books on dozens of diet techniques, I've done a ton of work outs, and have come to the conclusion that because everyone's body is different, every body processes food differently, there is no one diet - or way of eating - that is right for everyone. I can not digest wheat or dairy. Hasn't stopped me from eating it in the past, but when I avoid it, as I've been doing religiously for the last month, I feel better, my body responds better, and I don't feel the urge for more simple carbs because my blood sugar has plummeted. Some people have no problem with wheat and diary and don't have weight problems when they eat these.
My point, because I have one, is that its your body and you need to take responsibility for it. You are the only one who can determine if you feel good and if what you are putting into your system is right for your body.
Having said all that, my biggest piece of advice is you have to move your body. If you can get outside (with sunblock!) then walk. You don't need to run, you just need to be moving. Not only will you be burning calories, you won't be watching TV and eating. The more you move, the better you will feel and the more inspired you'll be to move the next day.
I have a crazy work schedule and very long commute to and from the office, so I bought two mini trampolines (49.95 each I think). One is in my bedroom, the other in my office. Sometimes I jump lightly for 10 minutes a few times a day - just enough to raise my heart rate a little so my metabolism is boosted. At home, I have a deal with myself - if I want to watch True Blood or Game of Thrones, or Mad Men, I jump while I watch.
Next step - WATER!!!
It's been said that one should drink 50% of their weight in ounces. At 238 pounds you need to be drinking 120 ounces of water a day. This is good for several reasons: every cell of your body needs water in order to function properly. On a large scale, your digestive system needs water in order to move food out. Your blood flows faster through your system if you're hydrated, making your whole body function more efficiently because more oxygen is circulating through your system and ensuring good metabolism. When your stomach is full of water, it's harder to overeat. When you're drinking that much water, it's harder to drink other liquids which I'm going to assume contain sugar, caffeine, sodium and dyes. All of these things inhibit you're bodies ability to burn off fat and function appropriately.
I cannot stress enough fruits and vegetables. Being addicted to sweets and salts (chocolate covered raisins and almonds, PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE!!!! Nirvana!) This is always the hardest for me, but as with everything else in life, moderation. When I'm missing sweets, I think back on the last few days - did I stay in control? Then I deserve a few Hershey kisses with a dozen almonds. The key is to sit down and eat them slowly. Heaven knows how many thousands of calories I've consumed over the years (probably more like 100's of thousands!) without even really savoring them. It's a waste. If you are going to give yourself a treat, make yourself earn it first, and then take the time to appreciate it.
Having been exactly where you are, I have a few thoughts on how overwhelmed you are likely feeling. I'm not going to lie, you have a lot of work ahead of you. I think, and have found, that an important thing is to set realistic goals in order to feel successful. A trick a good friend of mine tipped me too was this: make a list of things you want; a new lipstick, a manicure, a message, a hand bag, an iPad - anything, big or small, that you wouldn't buy yourself on a regular trip to run errands, then reward yourself for milestones. Don't make your goal to weigh 110 pounds. That's too far away right now and when you haven't achieved it in a couple of months it's easy to slack off on being healthy because you've already 'failed'. Set a goal of weighing 228 pounds, then buy yourself, or treat yourself to a little something as a reward. When you've reached that goal, make your next goal to stay at 228 for 14 days. When you've achieved that, reward yourself again. Chances are, if you have changed your habits enough to lose the ten pounds and keep it off, you will have lost more before you reach your next goal date.
Finally - yes... I'm wrapping this up! - educate yourself. Libraries, bookstores, and the Internet are full of fabulous books on nutrition. There is no excuse to not utilize the resources available to ensure your own health. I'd focus on what nutrients your body needs to function. How much protein do you need daily, how much iron, calcium, vitamin C? Then you can look for the foods that offer the most of those nutrients and plan meals around those. I have some suggestions of sites to visit for this. I've found that being healthy makes me feel empowered and in control. When I weighed 220 pounds I felt unhealthy, out of control and unimportant. There are wicked mental gymnastics going on with this kind of weight issue and as much as I looked for reasons to blame my ex, and my doctors and stress, the bottom line was I needed to shut all of that out and focus on what my body needed so that I could be healthy.
Good luck, I hope sharing some of what I've gone through will help.