Hi Loren, sounds like we've had a similar trajectory (minus the broken ankle)! My massive weight gain happened over three or four years of a job with a weird schedule and some presonal stress - I got up to 240, and now I'm down to 200 by tracking my calories and activity here in FitDay. Still a long way to go, but I didn't gain it overnight, right?
The thing that has probably helped me the most is cooking at home. I vegetable garden, and it's really fun to go home after work and find what's ripe in the garden and cook something up with that. Add some protein, and voila! Obviously I can't do that in the winter, though, so I use the frozen vegetable mixes from the store. The stir fry vegetable mixes are great because you get a lot of variety without added fat and can flavor them up any way you want to. And they don't go bad before you can eat it all! The frozen fruit is great, too.
I have a hard time getting enough protein, so I've started using protein shakes as well. Here's one I really like with 24g of protein for only 117 calories. Dymatize Elite Whey | Elite Whey Protein | Dymatize Whey Protein
Getting enough protein helps you stay full and helps build your lean muscle mass if you're working out. Low carb hasn't worked for me in the past because it makes me constipated (sorry to be gross!). Once, after going very low carb and working out hard for several days, I found myself so exhausted, I just had NO energy. After gorging myself on cookies, I felt better than I had in days! Cookies are not the path to weight loss success, though, so now I try to makes sure that I'm getting my carbs! Healthy carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta.
Which brings me to nutrition. Whole grain carbs are very nutritious! I get very motivated by reading up on whole foods and the benefits they bring. A great resource for this is The World's Healthiest Foods website which has a very balanced approch to nutritional health and is written in laymen's terms that are easy to understand. You can look up information by food or essential nutrients. Here's a link to the food list...
WHFoods: The World's Healthiest Foods
It's at the top of my bookmark list (under FitDay, of course!) and has inspired me to try new foods. Also, All recipes ? complete resource for recipes and cooking tips
is great because you can search recipes by ingredient if there is something new you want to try.
If I have too big of a calorie deficit one day, I have a tendency to binge the next, so I've learned that some days I need to eat a little more than what feels comfortable to prevent myself from overdoing it and making unhealthy choices.
One other thing I do, although I don't know that it's advocated here, is I eat all the "free" non-starchy vegetables I want - in other words, I don't record them on my FitDay log. I only do this for to expidite my food entries. When I did Weight Watchers years ago, they allow you to eat all the non-starchy vegetables you want, so this is just a hold-over from that. It makes it easy for me and encourages me to load up on the healthy stuff. Doing this has not hindered my weight loss, but if you use the frozen vegetable mixes, it would be easy to incude them through the food choices or as a custom food.
Good luck - you're on the right track!!