I've decided that it's more important for me to increase my activity level than restrict my food intake. I did low impact yoga for a few days, and enjoyed it, but had difficulty motivating myself to continue. The same has been true for walking around the neighborhood. Part of the issue I think is that PE classes were so competitive and high intensity, really only teaching me and my peers the value and the tools of things like running a mile in x amount of time, being able to do x amount of pushups and situps, and exercise not being effective unless you were pouring sweat and had a high heart rate.
I want to be better to myself and do more activity not only to be physically healthier, but mentally too. I think recognizing that I faced pressure to only see hard exercise as worth doing in the past, and recognizing now that low intensity activity is better than none at all, will help. Part of the reason diets don't work is that unsustainable eating is often paired with unsustainable exercise. We're not naturally programmed to run unless it was in pursuit of a meal or running away from a danger. Our ancient ancestors weren't using ellipticals. Competition and body standards seem to be the only sustainable hard-workout motivations for most people today.
It's okay to just do light, gentle activity for fun. I'll clarify that I support anyone doing higher impact workouts and sports if it's what they enjoy. It's just that I don't think it's for most people, and doing a month of the gym, losing motivation, and quitting over and over is worse than just finding an activity that you find easy and enjoyable for your own stress relief that you can do sustainably.