That's a lot of questions to answer!
The best place I could send you for advice is SparkPeople. It's not one of those shonky miracle diet sites. It's completely free. And it has some great articles there on pretty much anything you could think of. It also has an exercise section with loads of exercise routines you can follow in the comfort of your own home.
SparkPeople site: http://www.sparkpeople.com/
I'll answer your questions as best I can but I'm no diet or fitness expert!Are carbs good or bad?
Depends on the carbs. Remember carbs aren't just found in white bread, they're also in fruit and vegetables. The problem with carbohydrates is that if you have too many of them they can be converted into fat (not as easily as fat can be, though, which is why cutting out excess fat while trying to lose weight is a good idea). And highly processed carbohydrates can send your blood sugar levels crazy resulting in sugar rushes and crashes. For that reason white bread is considered not-so-good. Complex carbohydrates (wholemeals or wholegrains) are much better at regulating blood sugar. Plus they're packed with fibre which is good for flushing out your system and taking away cholesterol. Just make sure you increase your water intake for the fibre to do its job!
Many diets advocate replacing some of the carbs you eat with more protein. This is because the body can't convert protein to fat. However, it has to get rid of excess protein in another way and that's through the kidneys. So if you have a pre-existing kidney condition high protein diets aren't a good idea.
In my view carbs are good because they're filling. If you have wholegrains then they are also full of good nutrients. And if you use low GI carbs you will feel fuller for longer.Some good cardio exercises.
Dancing. Running. Power-walking. Swimming. Aerobics. Cycling. Tennis... the list goes on! Anything that raises your heart-rate a bit so that it's difficult to carry out a conversation. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy because it makes it much easier to stick to!Do I have a DDR mat?
YES! Yes I do and it is WONDERFUL! I actually have two now
. Bought them both cheap on eBay (under $30 each including postage and handling). They're only the cheapy foam mats. One day when I'm rich I'd love to buy a more solid device but for now these are perfectly adequate for my needs. If you enjoy computer games and like dancing or aerobics I highly recommend them! They work with Playstation 2. I don't think there are any for Xbox. The games themselves can be bought second-hand for about $30. You can buy them new on eBay for about $70.How often should you exercise to see results
The standard answer seems to be 60 minutes of cardio work per day. That can be broken into smaller chunks of exercise, though. And if you're new to exercise you really don't want to overdo it. Not only are you likely to injure yourself, you'll probably end up hating exercise and it will put you off for life! Eventually you want to be able to do at least 20 minutes of medium to high intensity cardio work because from what I read somewhere it takes 20 minutes before your body gets into full fat-burning mode. But any exercise is good exercise so every little bit counts! If all you can manage is a ten minute walk to the mailbox and back then start with that. And personally I think you need a couple of rest days in there to recuperate. So a few days of low-intensity cardio wouldn't go astray in any exercise routine.
You'll also want to do some resistance or weight work. Muscle burns more calories while resting than fat does so the more muscle you build the faster your resting metabolism will be and the faster you will lose weight. Not only that it's great for toning so that your body looks even better once you lose the fat.
One thing to remember is to let your muscles and ligaments recover and rebuild between sessions. If you do weights on one day then do cardio the next, like running. Alternate and your muscles can rebuild themselves and get stronger. If you don't give them a chance to recover then you don't build muscle. And repeated micro-tears of the ligaments and muscles could leave you prone to RSI type injuries.Protein and muscles.
You need protein to build muscles, it's really as simple as that. If you're losing weight then your body burns its stores of carbs (glycogen) then moves onto fat and muscle. So while you're losing fat you're also losing muscle and that's a very bad thing! So you need to keep rebuilding that muscle, and for that you need protein. It's quite contentious as to how much protein you need, though. And you can get your protein from a variety of sources. Lean meat, skinless chicken and fish seem to be the preferable ones for omnivores. Vegetarians opt for beans, legumes, nuts,soy products, and eggs and dairy (unless they're vegan). You can get protein from many other sources as well. Many vegetable sources have incomplete proteins and there are some grains like quinoa that are complete proteins. You can also supplement your diet with protein shakes. If you are seriously building muscle, like with body building, it's a good idea to use supplements.
Hope this answers some of your questions! I'd definitely look up other sources to get other points of view rather than just rely on what I say. Many of the questions you have asked here are hotly debated so it would be good to get a balanced viewpoint before making your mind up.