You and I have a lot in common, aside from my being a chick. Details. I'm a former smoker, about to turn 40 in October. I, too, have been warned about diabetes. Just had my freaking 25 year HS reunion. And everyone else was so fat, it made me feel like a fashion model. Until the scale hit 163#. When you're 5'2" and your perfect weight is around 120#, seeing the scale hit that high is kind of like a punch in the gut. And I've never connected the dots before, but I first started gaining weight when I quit smoking and started filling the void with ice cream.
When I started Primal, I'd already been going to the gym for about 3 months. But I had no clue about what I was doing there. I was just going and trying different stuff, but nothing 'stuck'. Too cheap to hire a trainer, I trolled the internet for advice. I happened upon one of Mark's training videos on YouTube, and, long story short, here I am.
It may cheer you to know that I lost 5 pounds in 3 months on Atkins and the gym, but I've lost another 20 pounds since mid-March, when I started Primal Blueprint. Yeah, 5 pounds in the first 3 months, then 20 pounds in the 3 months after switching to this program. READ the Fitness book, follow his suggestions on balancing strength, cardio and sprints. I feel like that has been the key for me. This program works, if you work the program. I'm eating better than I ever have, I don't spend 20 years in the gym every day (which is hard to conceive of when you view time from a linear, subjective viewpoint, but never mind that now), and I have more energy than when I was in college.
You can do this, and it sounds like you're the kind of person with the determination to make the changes this will require. I look forward to seeing your after pics on the success threads!
Motherhood: When changing from pj pants to yoga pants qualifies as 'getting dressed'.