Hi Mikah. I've followed core since 2004 when it was introduced. i did hit goal but have since gained some back that I'm working on. What I have found is the following:
If you don't have an issue with portion control, then not weighing and measureing can work. If you don't know what a normal portion of potato or pasta is, I would suggest measuring so you know what a correct portion is. For a while I did points (weighing and measuring) while eating the core/simply filling foods. Also, if you cook, core/simply filling is easier to follow then if you rely on prepackaged foods. Those will eat up your 35 points very quickly.
For #2 you are reading the program correctly. If you need to limit is really a personal choice. Do you lose slower if you eat more startches? I tend to do better limiting startches, but thats me.
#3 - again, I think its a personal choice. If you can substitute those and still lose, then great. I would still try to get in the olive and healthy oils -- they are just good for you.
#4 - I never really used all my 35 points, for me they are more of a buffer when I am in situation where I'm going off program -- either planned or not. My old leader used to joke how I lost and still had my glass of wine each night
#5 -- I walk about 1+miles a day, plus recently added biking. Walking counts, check out the online activity tracker. The more steneous the better it is for your overall health.
The big thing with core/simply filling is knowing when to stop eating -- can you stop when you are satisfied or do you eat until you feel like you'll explode? A few here have different tricks to help with portion control without measuring. Eat on a salad plate rather than a dinner plate, I try to have my plate 1/2-1/3 veggies and I put those on first. I've also started cooking meats in smaller portions -- A package of 3 chicken breast become 6-8 servings.
Come on over to the chat thread as well, its a great, supportive group!