Great work losing so far. I have a sedentary job, too. A few years ago I read a study where people with sedentary jobs were made to get up and walk (at a slow pace) for 2 minutes every 20 minutes. They found that making this one change--no dietary changes at all--decreased resting blood sugar considerably. Since I have type 2 diabetes and suspect this interferes with weight loss, I tried doing it myself, and I've found that it has more effect on my resting blood sugar than what I eat! When I have tried doing this through the working day, I've had more success losing than when I fall away from the habit (which I've done lately).
Interesting that you see the Midwest in my post! I'm a transplant--originally from Pennsylvania. I still feel the culture shock on a daily basis
Regarding cravings, yes, you don't have to give in to cravings. How about being proactive, though? Is there something you can do to reduce those cravings? For example, are you making your healthy food nice and spicy? Or promising yourself that when you want something sweet, you'll eat a piece of fruit first? I tried this last night and although I still ate a couple 1-point cookies after my fruit, I definitely ate less sweets and overall calories than I would have if I hadn't eaten the fruit first (and managed to stay on plan for the day, unlike the two previous days).
Frankly, I think will power--at least if we define it as the ability to say no to impulses without any previous preparation--is over-rated. There have been some interesting studies that show we all have a limited amount of it, and specifically that it wears down over the course of the day--which might be why so many people have trouble sticking to plan in the evenings.
Habits and environments, though, shape what we do pretty powerfully. If there aren't any sweets around and you don't have time to run out to the store to get some, you won't eat any sweets. If you're in the habit of eating a handful of wasabi peas when you crave something salty, you won't have to think about what to do or make a choice (so will power doesn't have to come into play).
So, sure, kick yourself in the butt all you want. But then I would encourage you to try to out-smart your cravings and bad behaviors. Thinking about it when you're not hungry, not craving, and making a plan for when you are.
Thanks for the love and encouragement regarding sadness. Betsy said "let's create some new dreams that can be realized." Although I do think it's okay to grieve, I also think this is where I need to get my head at.