I didn't get a chance to hit this thread right away, but I'm here now. Some great advice!
Personally BP, I've found that weight loss and health are largely a result of nutrition. Eat a high protein diet, lots of chicken. Wake up, eat a protein bar or shake. I read recently that the two most important parts of being healthy are- exercise, and eating breakfast. If eating breakfast is as important as exercise, you should never skip it! It gets your body started burning calories right after you eat, so do it immediately after waking.
Then, eat a healthy lunch with vegetables, fruit, and a bunch more protein. Usually for me it's a chicken sandwich of some variety. When you're weight training and trying to gain muscle mass, you don't want your body to go hungry, because like Rugby said, your body will burn muscle instead of fat, the lazy bastard
. You should aim to eat a protein snack every 3-4 hours. I eat beef jerky or a small protein bar halfway between lunch and dinner.
And then a sensible dinner.
Since I started this kind of diet, I'm never hungry and I've got my weight right where I want it. I lift a lot as well, so I'm always saturating my body with protein; but the protein also aids in weight loss.
For exercise, get yourself in the gym and do 5-10 minutes of cardio. This is imperative to get your body heated up and ready to build some muscle. Then do your work-out, I typically try not to lift for more than an hour. As others have said, choose several areas per workout and do lifts that work those body parts. The important part is- KEEP YOUR BODY ON ITS TOES! I mix up the lifts constantly. For instance, one week I'll do all bar weights in my lifts. The next week, all dumbbells. Your body says to itself- "damn, I've gotta be prepared in case he ever does this to me again". Therefore, if you do a bunch of different types of lifts you'll maximize your muscle gain.
And then do another 5-10 minutes of cardio on your way out of the gym. You burn more fat when you do cardio after the lifting, because your body has burned all the (I forget the exact substance) Lactic acid? A trainer told me that.
Sorry to be long winded. Hope some of this is useful.