Susan Boyle became an overnight sensation when she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” on British TV’s Britain’s Got Talent way back in April 2009. However, in the past three years, it is the Susan Boyle weight loss success story and her transformation after losing more than 2 stones, that has attracted an incredible amount of media interest – but how and why did she get rid of those extra pounds?
Did Susan Boyle tell us how she lost weight? The answer is no – not exactly! However, some careful investigation has revealed that there were 3 steps to her success:
- Step #1: She was quoted as saying “I needed to stop eating sweeties and cakes. It’s the bane of my life. I had to lose the weight for my health” (1) – so cutting out those sweet snacks was definitely step number one.
- Step #2: Susan had to follow a sugar-free diet for health reasons. She got a big wake-up call when she received a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in 2013. Doctors ordered her to lose weight for the sake of her health. (2) This meant following a sensible Type 2 Diabetes eating plan.
- Step #3: Susan also revealed that a big part of her weight loss success has not come from strenuous gym workouts, but from a daily 2-mile walk. Surprisingly, this is not in a gym, or with a personal trainer, but a stroll to her local Tesco store and home again.
Susan Boyle Weight Loss Sugar-Free Diet Meal Plan
The clues to the type of diet that SuBo has been following are available on the website Diabetes UK. The type of diet recommended for those with Type 2 Diabetes is suitable for just about anyone who wants to live more healthily and lose some excess pounds. By cutting out foods with added sugar and sticking to mostly unprocessed foods, as close to their natural state as possible, it is easy to use this type of diet to achieve the same weight loss success that Susan Boyle has obtained.
Dr Osama Hamdy, M.D. PhD who works at Joslin Diabetes Centre, Boston, as Medical Director of their Obesity Clinical Program, is quoted as saying “People can put diabetes into remission or reverse its course if they lose weight … In my research, I’ve found that when people lose 7 percent of their body weight, their insulin sensitivity improves by 57 percent. That is better than taking two medications for diabetes at the maximum dose.” (3)
On the Diabetes UK website, they suggest that in their meal plans section, a good way to lose weight is to consume 600 calories per day less than the body needs. This should result in an average weight loss of one pound per week. They provide meal plans based on 1200 calories per day for women, 1500 calories per day for men and women and 1800 calories per day for men. They also give vegetarian options.
Some of the delicious options on a 1200 calorie/day diet include:
• Apricot porridge with toasted seeds
• Almond, apricot and pumpkin seed granola
• Apple and Muesli smoothie
• Apricot porridge with toasted seeds
• Bran Flakes
• Chicken and tomato sandwich
• Ham sandwich
• Spaghetti with courgette, chilli tomato and bacon
• Tandoori Chicken Chapati
• Salmon, red onion and sweet pepper wrap
WEIGHT LOSS EVENING MEAL
• Mixed Vegetable and Bean Curry
• Salmon Salad
• Chicken and Lentil Curry
• Lamb Tagine
• Cod with tomato sauce
Healthy snacks, suitable for those mid-morning or late afternoon ‘munchies’ – adjust your portion size to about 150 calories (or less if you are having more than one snack per day).
• Hummus and Oatcake
• Wholemeal Fruit Bar
• Small handful of Almonds and dried Cranberries
• A whole Apple (skin-on)
• Greek Yogurt with Raisins
Susan Boyle Weight Loss Tips
We have put together a shortlist of the most useful tips that could help you to achieve the same success that Susan Boyle has had with her weight loss.
- DRINKS: If you are drinking sugary drinks, you will feel less full than if you added that same amount of sugar to a meal!
It is best to drink water throughout the day. You can make water more interesting, with a slice of lemon, lime or a few berries added to it.
If you do drink tea and coffee, do not add sugar – and although milk is a great source of protein and essential vitamins and minerals, avoid the flavored milkshake drinks as these are usually loaded with sugar!
- SNACKS: If you need to snack between meals, many of the products thought of as being “healthy” are in fact, loaded with sugar and may even have more sugar than a candy bar.
There are many easily portable, healthy alternatives that you can pop in your purse or car for when hunger strikes. These include nuts, raisins, plain popcorn and sugar-free crackers.
Also healthy, but which needs refrigeration, is plain yogurt. Make it more interesting with some chopped, fresh fruit, or some hummus with some sticks of carrot, celery and so on, for dipping.
The secret is to plan ahead. Take your snacks with you – then you will never have another vending machine, high sugar, snack emergency again!
- EATING OUT: If you are not sure whether a dish has added sugar, ask! Unfortunately, you will be dismayed to learn just how much of what we eat in restaurants has added sugar! If in doubt, keep it simple and avoid marinated meats, gravies, glazes, dips and broths – all of which are probably concealing a lot of hidden sugar! (4)
- USE ALTERNATIVE SWEETENERS: Two natural alternative sweeteners that we can recommend are Agave Nectar and Stevia. Try using these at home to sweeten drinks and in your home baking.
Agave nectar is a natural product from the agave plant and is sweet with a consistency rather like “runny” honey. It has a low GI (20-30 by comparison with cane sugar’s 60-65) so it does not spike blood sugar in the same way as ordinary sugar.
It has a similar amount of calories and carbohydrates to regular sugar. So, although it is an alternative, swapping and using a similar amount will not benefit your weight loss goals. Agave is a good sweetener for smoothies and in baking.
Stevia is another plant-based sweetener that is much sweeter than ordinary sugar, so you only need a little. Stevia sweetening products, such as Truvia, have zero calories and low carbohydrates, making this natural sugar alternative a great choice for those with Type 2 Diabetes and those following a sugar-free diet for weight loss.
This might be suitable as either a Top Tip or a Bottom Line entry.
Read the Ingredients Lists:
Allow extra time for your grocery store shopping. Mistakes happen when we are in a hurry! Read the labels. Never assume that because the packaging or product name looks “healthy,” that it actually is! Check EVERYTHING!
Check for added sugars. An apple contains sugar but it has all the other good stuff like fiber and all those great micro-nutrients! However, if you eat processed apple that has had maple syrup, honey or fruit juice added, these are all added sugars that should be avoided!
BOTTOM LINE: Plan ahead so that you have the ingredients you need for each day (preferably, for the whole week!). This will help you avoid being tempted to grab a snack from unhealthy choices that are not on your meal plan list!
How To Manage Your Sugar Cravings
If you are trying to emulate Susan Boyle weight loss success and find yourself having the “mid-morning munchies” or a 4.00 pm “afternoon slump,” part of the problem might well be, that your blood sugar is spiking after meals and then dipping sharply.
A diabetes-friendly diet helps to keep blood sugar levels under control and can help to keep the cravings for sweets and cakes at bay. Keeping an eye on the carbohydrate content and being sure to include sufficient lean protein and healthy plant fats will ensure that you do not get hungry between mealtimes.
BOTTOM LINE: Having a meal plan for the week helps you to stick to the diet.
Susan Boyle Low Impact Exercise Plan For Weight Loss
The first thing to say about the Susan Boyle exercise plan for weight loss is that it is so simple that anyone can do it! In fact, Susan helped herself to lose those excess pounds, not by rigorous gym routines but by simply walking to her local Tesco store and back: a round trip of two miles!
This may not sound important, but the benefits of walking: a low-impact exercise, are tremendous! It will help you to retain muscle mass and burn some extra calories. It can be an effective way of burning fat and reducing belly fat.
Walking regularly is a great way to improve the way the body reacts to insulin, helping to lower blood sugar levels and lower the risk for Type 2 Diabetes according to information published by the American Diabetes Association (5) – here are some of the other advantages of walking for exercise:
- Walking is good for body and mind. It helps to improve levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. It also lowers stress levels and treats depression.
- It can help you to lose weight and reduce your risk of developing other chronic health problems including dementia and heart disease.
- It is totally free! No expensive gym membership or sports equipment is needed; just a comfortable pair of shoes and you are good to go!
- It is a safe activity for just about everyone, whatever their initial level of fitness.
Walking is an activity that you can do almost anywhere, alone or with friends. In fact, walking with friends is a great social activity and a brilliant way to motivate yourself to stick with it.
How To Get Started On Walking For Weight Loss
You can begin to see benefits with just 10 minutes of walking each day. Start at a pace that is comfortable for you.
You can build on this as your fitness levels increase. Each week, try to add an extra three to five minutes to your daily walk and increase your pace a little to help build stamina if that feels comfortable for you.
Top Tips on Walking for Weight Loss
- Although walking is a low impact form of exercise, it is a good idea to begin walking at a slightly slower pace for the first few minutes.
- Choose some comfortable shoes and put your cell phone away! Looking down at your phone while you walk is not good for your posture. Keep your head up, chin level and look forward.
- Take some bottled water with you and try to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Vary your pace. Walking faster for a few minutes will help raise your heart rate and improve your fitness.
- Vary the terrain. It is probably a good idea to begin on a flat surface, but as your strength and stamina improve, add some hills and/or flights of stairs to build your endurance.
Keep it interesting; change your routine by doing a short walk at a fast pace on some days and longer walks at a brisk pace on others. Walk with a friend sometimes as this can help with motivation.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
An estimated 347 million people all over the world suffer from Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) like Susan Boyle. It can cause very serious consequences, affecting the circulatory system, causing heart disease and risk of stroke, damaging the kidneys, affecting the peripheral nervous system (which causes neuropathy), and damaging the tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, causing sight problems and blindness.
The risk of these potential health problems was explained by Susan’s doctors when she received her diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes and is the primary reason for Susan Boyle’s weight loss.
Our bodies use insulin to convert glucose from food into the energy we need. Type 2 diabetes occurs when either the Pancreas cannot produce enough insulin for our bodies’ needs, or our bodies cannot use insulin efficiently enough.
According to a friend of SuBo, speaking in a 2013 article published soon after Susan was diagnosed (6) “Susan is very much following doctor’s orders now and has cut the sweets out. At the moment she is able to control the condition with tablets.”
The usual treatment for Type 2 Diabetes is to implement the type of dietary and lifestyle changes that have resulted in Susan Boyle’s weight loss. We believe that the tablets her friend refers to are prescription Metformin tablets that help boost the amount of insulin the cells of the body can absorb.
Susan’s Problems with Asperger’s Syndrome
SuBo (as she is affectionately known to her fans) was, perhaps, an unlikely candidate for world stardom. She was born on April 1st, 1961 after a delivery with complications. It was believed that the unpredictable mood swings, eccentric behavior and “meltdowns” that have affected her throughout her life resulted from being starved of oxygen at birth. However, in 2012 Susan finally received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism.
Asperger’s Syndrome, (AS) is an Autistic Spectrum problem with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Susan Boyle, in common with other affected individuals, has difficulties with communication and socializing.
Characteristics of AS can include problems with non-verbal communication, the need for routine, and difficulty in “getting” social cues. More information about this can be found on the Asperger Autism Spectrum Education Network website, Aspen
In an interview with the Daily Mail in November 2014 (7), Susan Boyle reveals that being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome came as a relief and now that she understands the cause of her mood swings, she is developing coping strategies:
Speaking in an interview in The Guardian online (8), Susan says:
Individuals with AS are also often regarded as “different.” Susan says that as a child, she was nicknamed “Susie Simple” and suffered from bullying from her classmates at school in her hometown, Blackburn in West Lothian, Scotland.
In common with many AS sufferers, SuBo also suffers from both depression and mood swings. The star freely admits that she has a great team and it is only with their support, that she is able to cope so well.
In a November 2016 article published in the Scottish Sun (9), Susan revealed that the reason she had not been able to perform live was problems with her Asperger’s Syndrome.
She admits that she is taking “baby steps” but has decided to record for the moment, rather than sing live.
Is There Romance In The Air For Susan Boyle?
In a March 2017 feature on the Womans Own website (10), on the weight loss success of top celebrities, including SuBo, the suggestion was that perhaps, the Susan Boyle weight loss phenomenon might have an additional cause.
Their suggestion was that SuBo had a new man in her life! In the magazine interview, the star is quoted, saying “I don’t want to reveal his name. It’s nothing serious at the moment,” concerning the mystery man, believed to be a doctor with whom she had had a recent dinner date.
Susan Boyle’s weight loss transformation has come from her characteristic perseverance. Her three steps to success of cutting out the sweeties and cake, sticking to the Type 2 Diabetes, sugar-free diet and adding low-impact aerobic exercise in her two-mile daily walk are simple steps that any of us could follow.
We hope that the tips we have presented in this article will help you to achieve your own success with the Susan Boyle weight loss plan. We think SuBo is an amazing person who has coped with her problems in a very courageous way. She looks fantastic and we look forward to hearing more of her wonderful voice, very soon.