Re: Losing weight and building muscle
You have only been doing this for a month, so give yourself some time and have patience. Dont use the scales at first and your wardrobe is a better indicator.
Why wait? Do it now.
Weight lifting forces your body to work harder to burn the bodyfat as energy while building muscle ("toning"). It also keeps your body's metabolism up longer than just cardio alone. Perform some cardio after a lifting routine for a "cooldown" or do it on the nonlifting days.
To lose bodyfat, the body takes it from all over ....not just one spot. Leg exercises, like extensions/curls/lunges and squats, will keep the firm legs you are after. There is not such thing as "spot reducing".
However, most women do need some upper body strength and lose what bodyfat stored in the various other areas. This will also keep your curves and give you a more defined look. You will not bulk like a guy. The majority of women just do not have enough hormones to do this. Nor genetics. The female bodybuilders have to work extremely hard and keep to a strict diet to prepare for the competitions.
A three day "split" performing a strength program of 4 sets of 10 reps (or less) with moderately heavy weights. Be sure to rest a minute between each set and be sure to stretch/warmup before starting the workout. Do this for an hour/90 minutes per session.
This is very important to keep your energy up and to lose bodyfat.
Making your meals small and fewer (5-6) will help keep your metabolism up and spread the nutrients/calories in a consistant manner. Rather like putting wood chips on a fire to keep it going through the night and keep a good bank of hot coals going. Rather than let it die down and then dump a load of wood and wait for the heat to come back up. The idea is to turn your body into a fatburning engine.
Up your protein to about a gram per pound of lean body mass. In my case, I weigh 180lbs....so mine is about 130-140grams.....well I try. Lower your carbs and eat complex ones (i.e. whole grains/veggies). Cut your sugars and drink plenty of water. You can use protein powders as a suppliment if you cannot get enough protein otherwise.
I lost 60lbs while a taking a year's worth of college Women's Strength classes. It has been five months since those classes were over and I still workout twice a week at home. I am 52, 5'6" and started out at 245. Found I liked lifting and ran with the premise.
There are more than just "looks" and physcial wellbeing out of all this. Another benefit of gaining some upper body strength with lifting. Yesterday, I had to change a blown rear tire on my 79 Cordoba. Living in a rural part of my state....and driving alone....the only person I could depend on was myself to do this. Gaining the upper body strength since starting this made this job far easier to do. I had to do this when I was overweight some years ago....no fun and was exhausted afterwards.
Six months after starting my classes, I had to change my front tire...twice.... and found it was easier then.....but was still 205lbs and was abit tired afterwards. Now I am 180lbs and not tired (well, was a little "stiff" in the shoulders this morning but would have been more so earlier) I am wearing premarriage clothes sizes for the first time in 33 years. Was about 165lbs then. I had gained some muscle mass....yes. Muscle is denser for it's size compared to bodyfat (like tangerine size to two grapefruit size)
I am extremely glad having that strength to "man"handle the tires in and out of the trunk as well as taking off/putting on the wheel. I carry a 2 1/2 pound hammer as part of my toolkit for such emergencies.....easier to "break" those lugnuts put on with powerwrenches.