I cut out soda and lost 5 pounds in a month without changing anything else in my lifestyle, forreals.
And I feel like you answered all your own questions, you just said you like none of the answers. I stopped eating junk food and now I have whole grain chips/crackers with hummus for snacks instead (I also do carrots with it as well). I like running on an elliptical for 20 minutes a few times a week as well as I have ankle/calve (spelling wut) issues and running on anything else gives me major pains after as little as 2 minutes.
I mean, I think you're older than me (?) Get a grip on your health is all I really have to finish with.