Your tomatoes look great.* This site has some good growing info as well as pictures.* There's even a picture about pinching off side shoots which is probably the leaves you were told to pinch.
I would also suggest you raise the bucket up on something like bricks or pot feet so your deck doesn't get stained.
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.