Well it's good to hear you're having a bit more fun. Sometimes it's good to go hard, but sometimes it's good to have a glass of wine and throw your scale out the window (or have your husband hide it).
Also, it's awesome that you're considering weight training. I have a couple tips.
First, you don't HAVE to go to a gym to work out, but there are some perks to doing it like that: it gives you structure, and it gives you access to lots of different ways of exercising so you can have both breadth and variety in your workout.
Second, check out this website: http://www.niashanks.com/2012/10/myth-buster-6-female-strength-training-myths-that-wont-die/
That's just one article, but she also has a whole workout routine and videos of how to do exercises. I like the author's style - she's really straight-forward and everything I've read on her site has made me think "yeah! that is totally legit advice."
Third, this can be tricky, but it can be SO much easier to acclimate to weight lifting if you have a competent workout partner. Especially in the beginning, if you're anything like me, you're going to feel like a frickin IDIOT in the gym. You're struggling with all your might to lift something that isn't very heavy to most of the other people in there. Of course, it's all in your head, but it's still so helpful to have someone there to keep you in line, to say "get over it" when you start tearing up by the pull up bar. After a few months, you'll get more comfortable and confident in the gym - stick with it!
Third and a half, you have to push yourself in a way that I, personally, was unaccustomed to. When I first started training, my workout buddy would push me and I thought he was pushing me too hard. I was like: this is already hard, you don't need to add more weight, but you have to keep pushing yourself to improve. You can't get comfortable.
Fourth, one of the nice things about strength training (although some people go a little overboard on this) is that it gives you a measure of your progress. In the process of trying to optimize my lifestyle, I sometimes get negative (you know the deal: body isn't changing as fast as hoped, yada yada) and I start questioning everything, but there is NO doubt that I am stronger. I could hardly lift the bench bar when I started, and after something like a year I have mad weights on that thing! Ok, maybe just 85 lb, but it's more than 40 lb.
Finally, on body image: this is a topic that SO desperately needs to be addressed, in general. I struggle with it and I see other people struggling with it, but it's very hard to talk about and hard to resolve. It sounds like the three of us who have posted on this thread so far fall into the category of: young women who are not overweight and want to feel healthier, fitter, and sexier. For people like us, I see this tension between trying to obtain this perfect body and making peace with the way you are, and it's very confusing to figure out which is the right choice for you. That sounds silly, to suggest that accepting the way you are is not obviously the best choice, but I think for us there is some hope that if we adopted the right lifestyle we might obtain this higher level of fitness that would BE healthier and feel healthier - a win win. But then there's some chance that our bodies simply do not want to look like that of a swimsuit model's and maybe there isn't a way of getting there that is healthy. But we don't know yet. Am I right???
p.s. maybe consider toning down the IF. I keep hearing/reading about how it's not always such a great idea for women, especially those with eating disorder/body image issues. I've also been intrigued by the concept. Just be careful.