Adele's Transformation 'Was Never About Losing Weight,' Says Source: 'She Seems Happier Overall'

"It's easy to just focus on her physical transformation, but this is really about something bigger," an insider tells PEOPLE about Adele

Adele is turning heads instead of tables as of late.

The 31-year-old “Hello” singer put her new look and signature charm on display while on vacation with fellow Brits Harry Styles and James Corden during the week leading into and after New Year’s — and fans took notice.

“At first we barely even recognized her because she lost so much weight,” says 19-year-old fan Lexi Larson, who tells PEOPLE she met the star while dining at an Anguilla restaurant. “She told us she lost something like 100 lbs., and that it’s such a crazy positive experience.”

A source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday, that Adele has been maintaining a strict diet and fitness routine of cross-training and full-body Pilates in order to be healthy for herself and her 7-year-old son Angelo, whom she shares with ex Simon Konecki.

“It’s easy to just focus on her physical transformation, but this is really about something bigger,” says an insider. “She got to the point where she didn’t feel great. She knew she had to change something, because she wants to be the healthiest mom possible.”

“Her whole focus during the weight loss journey has really how been all about how she can be healthier and how can she treat her body better,” the insider continues. “It was never about losing weight. Her weight loss happened because she has cut down drinking and is eating more real food. But she now loves her physical transformation too. She is more confident, dresses differently and she just seems happier overall.”

As Adele gears up to release new music in 2020, the source says she is “happy and excited about the future.”

“She is a new woman with the same great sense of humor,” the source adds. “She loves her friends and feels a great deal of confidence.”

In September, multiple sources told PEOPLE that Adele is prepared to release new music sooner than later.

“She is definitely getting ready both mentally and physically to promote new music. It seems it will happen later this year,” said a source close to the artist. “She talks about last year as a very difficult year, and she’s said in the past that creating new music is almost like therapy. You can tell that she is ready to share with her fans.”

Another industry source added: “She is so busy, but her life is better-rounded than it was before. She is very fulfilled being an artist. New music is still a big deal for her, and she feels alive and happy.”

For more on Adele’s transformation, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

  • with reporting by LINDA MARX
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