You are absolutely correct in wanting a balanced diet. The body is not meant to go on all-or-nothing diets. Kale is really good, especially with lentils. My wife is diabetic and MUST count carbs to live. This is what I have learned. Sugar, sweets and juice are fast carbs. Lentils, potatoes, corn and whole grain breads are slow carbs. You don’t need to count other vegetables, except starches. Eat all of the non-starch vegetables that you want — kale, peppers, lettuce, celery, squashes, carrots, etc. All fruits are carbs and need to be counted..
Losing weight is a step-wise process. You lose, then plateau for a week or so, and then lose some more. You need to determine how many carbs, in 15 gram blocks, you need per meal. Then reduce it by one or two blocks. When you have levelled off for more than 2 weeks, reduce another carb block. When you get down to 4 carbs per meal, don’t reduce any more.
It takes about 30 minutes for the body to notice the food intake. So, if you are craving cupcakes, eat one and wait 30 minutes to see if you want another one. That may work for everything. Eat one serving and wait before eating the next. Get a timer if need be. If you have kids, I am sure that they would gleefully help. Good luck and I hope that this is helpful.