After reading in several places that birth control pills could cause fertility problems for me later if I have been on them too long (not to mention a plethora of other problems like hypertension, blood clotting, amenorrhea, etc), I got off the pill because I wanted to be proactive and not wait until I had a plethora of problems. My fiance was skeptical since he is deathly afraid of me getting pregnant, but I told him that this is my body and I'm not going to keep poisoning myself. At any rate, I bought a couple of books: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and Garden of Fertility by Katie Singer (she's also got a new one coming out this month, Honoring Our Cycles, which I will be purchasing because I have become newly fascinated with the idea of learning all about the workings of my body. Sorry if that sounds overly esoteric, but it isn't better to get to know your own body than have it be a mystery that some doctor has to explain to you?
All I know is, the method I now use is called Fertility Awareness Method and the books I mentioned above explain all about it (and much more). No pills and no devices except for a basal body temp thermometer. You take your temp everyday upon waking up and record it on a chart (which you can copy from the back of the books...both books I mentioned have copy-ready charts). You also record the signs of your cervical fluid. When you are ovulating, you will have lots of "egg white" mucus and your basal body temperature will spike. Realistically, you can only get pregnant 6 days out of your cycle, so if you know the signs of fertility for your own body, you can avoid sex those days or use a condom or have non-penetrative sex.
Works for me. Went off the pill in April of this year and I haven't gotten pregnant. My fiance and I avoid penetrative sex on the days when we know I'm ovulating. I will admit, I'm luckier than most because I get mittelschmerz (which means "middle pain" in German and which my German friend had never heard of because it's a medical term) which is the pain some women get, on one side or the other, in an ovary when the ovary is releasing an egg. It's fascinating to me, because I can remember getting it during the times when I was off the pill before but never while on the pill. I am also watching my body recalibrating itself.
For the weight, I have been on Weight Watchers since August and the weight is coming off! I started out 5'2 and 147 lbs at my heaviest, now I'm 129 and still losing. I've also been incorporating principles from two books: The French Don't Diet Plan by Will Clower and French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Giuliano, which teach you the principles of how French people eat (you've heard of the "French Paradox"?) Both books focus on HOW to eat as much or more than WHAT to eat. In a nutshell: don't eat processed food, eat real food (no to Velveeta or wrapped American singles, yes to Stilton and Gruyere!), eat lots of fruits and vegetables (seasonally is the key! North Americans have no business eating tomatoes in the dead of winter!), eat very slowly and chew your food thoroughly in small bites. Also, don't be afraid to eat dark chocolate, wine, even bread and cheese as long as you stay very small. These kinds of rich foods satisfy, even in small quantities if EATEN SLOWLY (or "sensual eating" as Mireille Giuliano calls it). The eating plans (I hesitate to call them "lifestyle changes" even though they are, because I know a lot of people hate that term), really, truly, work. I can't explain how it happens, but if I eat really slowly, it's amazing how little it takes to fill me up. And of course, I have the Weight Watchers in the background until I no longer need it (rather like the training wheels on a bike). The plan would work for just about anybody, except maybe vegans (what with the emphasis on dairy products). Of course, there is a similar book called Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat (a take-off on the French book) and I know traditional Japanese diets don't call for dairy or wine or other European-type foods, so that might help people who can't eat dairy (like my Chinese-American fiance).
Anyway, these are things that are working for me. I cook my own food (we don't eat out much any more, if at all which is fine because we were spending WAY too much money on that kind of stuff and we're trying to save up for our April wedding!), I cook seasonally (amazing how much better pears and apples taste now that they're in season...at least in N. America), I enjoy dark chocolate (piece by exquisite tiny piece). I eat real cheese! I've even gone off my pre-packaged Weight Watchers snack cakes, etc and now just make a pan of real brownies (my trick is to cut them in small pieces, freeze the rest or give away what I won't be eating so it's not around to tempt me). It's working! The weight is coming off, and what's best, I now have a game plan to use when I finally go off Weight Watchers!
Just thought I would share this info with someone in hopes others will find it useful. By the way, I'm a 27 year old woman with a family history of obesity (my mother had the dreaded gastric bypass back in March...I want to prevent myself from EVER needing that!) and diabetes (Dad was diagnosed with Type II back in April or so). When I was growing up, we didn't have many fresh veggies or fruit. We had a typical Standard American Diet (SAD, what an appropriate acronym) full of crap (French Bread Pizza, anyone? Hotdogs? Margarine...the horror!) My mom calls all the stuff I've been trying "hippy dippy". That's how she dismisses it. However, I've lost weight and I feel much better than I have in a long time (my once-dominant depression--that runs in the family too--has abated). I'm starting to feel the sparkly optimism I used to have as a little girl! So if this helps anybody, my mom can continue to call me "hippy dippy" and I'll be happy.