I just found your post and wanted to say "Welcome"! I think you have done the first step in getting healthier and happier by recognizing what you have to change and starting to make those small changes in your eating (and drinking) habits.
In my opinion that's what it comes down to - changing your eating habits. Drink more water, eat healthier and a little less. I believe that so-called "diets" don't work in the long run because a lot of them are so restrictive and you cannot maintain them in the long run, and as soon as you go "off" the diet the kilos come back on.
So a gradual change in your eating habits seems the way to go, and it looks like you are on the right path!
I hope to read a bit more from you.
BTW, I am 41 (since Monday last weeg, uuuuugh!) and have been on diets probably since my early 20's. When I look back now there was absolutely nothing wrong with my body then (I am 168cm and weighed 62kg), - if I would have only known! Now, since the kids (2 of them, 5 and 7), I have been hovering between 75 and 77 and have even gone up to 79 over the past few months. So I think I know how you feel! Just recently I discovered the low GI eating plan and am in the middle of changing my eating habits to accommodate that. Low GI is something I believe I will be able to maintain over a long period of time. Even though right now I have lots of relapses, but I have good days also and on those I can see a weight loss the next day! You might want to look into that, too.