I am a believer in heavy weights and a moderate amount of reps. I would recommend do 12-15 reps per 3-4 sets with the purpose of reaching failure. At one point I was doing over 600 lbs on the leg press, but I'm also crazy
I never gained inches, just lost them and lost them pretty fast with proper eating of course.
The more muscle you gain, the more fat you burn while you aren't exercising and also the muscle will help shape your body. As a woman, you can't really bulk up unless you have the hormones for it, which 99% of women don't. So by creating muscle, you will increase your metabolism. Your muscles have the capability to grow muscle within themselves without adding any bulk.
I'm barely getting back to my weight and exercise routine and I'm slowly working on the eating. I will get back there one day though
Also, during my first phase of exercise, I couldn't do any cardio at all, I only relied on weights and I lost 30 lbs within 2 months doing that.