Your changes must be the result of very high priorities. Just going on a diet won't work. You must be willing to make a lifestyle change forever. It is something that you must do from now on. That being said, it doesn't have to happen overnight either. The stressful part is figuring out where to begin. It's clear that you need some guidance on how to compose your food to work for you. Maybe some of your relaxing periods can be reading up on nutritional principles. The Idiot's Guide to Total Nutrition is a good one for starting. Every home should have a book like this on their shelf. I find it interesting that Americans do so much study on so many things to increase our productivity, but few of us ever study the most important knowledge for life: how to eat.
Since you don't have much energy, jumping into exercise will be the tough. The greatest upset to your current routine will be the changes that your diet will require, and until some of the weight comes off, you may not feel much energy for exercise. So you can either start with very light exercise - just some walking - or you can put that goal off for a bit later, but don't forget it entirely. Try setting a goal weight at which you start more exercise. Remember to start any exercise routine slowly, until your heart and skeletal muscles get stronger, or you may injure yourself and end up stuck in a bed for weeks.
Rule of Thumb #1: Eat mostly food with a low glycemic index. Some great suggestions have been presented. I agree that you should cut back on sugars and refined starches. Reducing the overall glycemic index of what you are eating will do your insulin levels a world of good. Your house should have on its bookshelf a guide to the glycemic index of common foods. Also read the information on the website of the Whole Grains Council. Most of your carbs will be whole grain form now on.
Rule of Thumb#2: Eat more often. You will likely have to start using your Sunday to cook meals in advance and pack them away. The suggestion that you and your wife trade a cooking day is a good one - then there are two cooking days during the week. Prepare meals in which the whole thing could fit in the cupped palms of two hands. Include some protein in every meal, but at least half of the meal should be vegetables (either raw or very lightly cooked). If you can prevent your insulin levels from spiking during the day, your body will not get the signal that it has to store energy.
Rule of Thumb #3: If you don't count it, you will never know how much you eat. Start keeping a food diary. This should be a record of everything you consume, including your water. Make a column for the food name, one for the amount you ate, one for the protein, one for fats, and one for carbohydrates. When you eat something, write it down, write down how much you ate, and how much P, F & C you consumed for each food. Remember to increase your values if you eat more of each food. Your house should have a scale that can measure to the ounce (digital is best), and measuring spoons and cups. Most nutrient values will come from the packaging, but if you eat mostly fresh foods (which is ideal), you will have to use a reference manual. You can buy one at a book store, or you can get a free one at USDA. Once you know what you are eating, you will be one your way to knowing how to apply the nutrition principles you will learn through study.
You can do this! Above all, don't allow your worry to prevent you from getting started. Once the ball gets rolling, it will be easier for you to keep it rolling. Becoming a witch didn't happen overnight either, did it? And you are right, knowing how to keep your body healthy is 100% part of your sacred path. All pagans want to show respect for nature, but doesn't that include respect for your natural body and those of your family? Good luck!
I know exactly what you mean. I'm 27 with the best intentions of living a healthier life but with a boyfriend that does not (not that that should be an excuse - only when we do have time to spend together i find myself living his life style (beer and pizza) then leaving him for another hour to talk the dogs for a run.) I work 40+ hrs a week - and I am tired mentally and physically when i get home. And yes...healthy food is way to expensive on a pay check to pay check budget. The whole life change to be healthy just seems overwhelming and makes me tired to think of it. I also try to stick to a schedule. But it's conflicted. I am a night person so going to be early never works out, I just toss and turn for hours. Not being a morning person makes it hard to wake up at 5 am to work out, walk the dogs, etc before heading off to work.
I could afford to lose a few pounds but I am not severely overweight. My concern is really just feeling good about myself, having a life that incorporates health into it (I know that with this the weight will come off.) I also feel that I am on my feet so much (I walk a fast pace and lift up to 70lbs daily) that if I could just getting my eating right I could get the pounds off just by living...but that goes back to the being able to afford balanced diets, finding time to eat and not snacking on junk food through out the day (my clinic (Schultz Veterinary Clinic) always has awesome treats in the break-room -cakes/pies/donuts...
Its a daily struggle that right now I am having a very difficult time getting control of.