Paula Deen is barely recognizable after losing a radical amount of weight as she grapples with diabetes, and sources exclusively tell Closer she’s a very different person from how she was in the days she was looking to find peace after all the blunders.

The 77-year-old chef and cookbook author was sued by a former employee in June 2013 for racial and sexual discrimination. Judge William Moore threw out the suit’s race-discrimination claims, but he let the claims of sexual discrimination stand. Soon thereafter, the suit was dropped; however, it was revealed in Paula’s deposition that she had “of course” used the “N-word” at times, according to Newsweek.

Though she apologized, Paula faced fierce backlash, leading to multiple contracts and deals being canned as well as her dismissal from the Food Network.

“She would like to turn back the clock in terms of mistakes she made in the past but can’t, so she’s focused on living her healthiest life,” an insider tells Closer.

In 2009, doctors diagnosed Paula with Type 2 diabetes, and that’s when the celebrity chef decided to make changes to her diet for the sake of her well-being.

paula deen
John Parra/WireImage

“It was at that moment that I was faced with a choice to make some important changes or risk leavin’ this wonderful life far too soon,” she wrote on her website. “Y’all, the choice was easy — and it turns out the changes haven’t been as hard as I imagined because I’ve been taking it at a turtle’s pace: slow and steady.”

According to Closer‘s source, “She’s dropped a ton of weight, 50 lbs at least just by avoiding the bad carbs, and the butter and grease she’s known to cook with. She can still whip up a Southern-comfort meal with biscuits and gravy, desserts like peach cobbler and banana pudding or chocolate pound cake, but she’ll only take a small bite to taste and show her fans it’s really good.”

Because she’s been living with diabetes for years, the insider reveals that “she’s careful about her diet.”

She’s previously explained, “Over the years, I’ve rearranged my plate, makin’ more room for the foods that are good for me. I started to learn about how to improve my diet by watching my starches and cutting way back on sugar and fats. I still treat myself to the occasional ‘comfort food’ I grew up with, but more often than not, I enjoy a big salad or lean meats and seafood for dinner and chase it down with a leisurely walk.”

Adds the source, “She lives a very calm life, more modest than she was used to before the scandal that got her fired from Food Network. She’s humbler, and people have picked up on that. She’s gaining followers on her YouTube cooking show, she still has her restaurants and is churning out the cooking books.”

With her YouTube channel currently up to 554,000 subscribers, “It would give her a thrill to topple people like Martha Stewart,” says the insider, “but frankly she hasn’t the time or heart for that kind of petty stuff anymore.”