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Padma Lakshmi Shares Her Fitness and Diet Philosophy: ‘I Don’t Deprive Myself’ (Exclusive)

Padma Lakshmi favors balance when it comes to staying in shape.

“I don’t deprive myself, nor do I try to pig out too much,” the former Top Chef host, 53, exclusively shares in the new issue of Us Weekly. “I also try to be kind to my body and compare myself to myself, not other people.”

Lakshmi also shared some of her favorite ways to exercise, noting that she works out as often as possible.

“I love to lift weights, box and jump rope [and do] a lot of ab work,” she said.

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Lakshmi, who announced her exit from Top Chef in 2023 after 17 years of hosting, previously opened up about how the cooking competition series made it hard to stay in shape.

“When filming Top Chef, I consume about 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day,” she wrote in a June 2020 essay for Time. “We start with anywhere from 15 to 18 contestants, and I have to take a bite or two from each of their plates to adequately judge each dish. Every day. It adds up. I typically gain anywhere from 10 to 17 pounds every season. Once I get home, what’s taken me six weeks to gain takes me 12 weeks to take off.”

Padma Lakshmi Shares Her Fitness and Diet Philosophy I Don t Deprive Myself 403
Olivia Wong/FilmMagic

Lakshmi went on to detail her process for losing the extra weight before the Emmy Awards each year. (The television personality has received a staggering 16 Emmy nominations for Top Chef.)

“My diet for the Emmys is pretty straightforward. It’s like a poem: no meat, no wheat, no cheese, no fried foods or sweets. And, of course, no alcohol,” she wrote, adding that she supplemented the strict diet with “two hours of working out a day.”

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However, after realizing that her daughter, Krishna, now 14, was picking up her dieting habits, Lakshmi decided to change her approach.

“This year, I’ve decided my weight will not be my focus. If I need a bigger dress, so be it,” she wrote. “That one day — or any day — on the red carpet isn’t nearly as important as making sure my daughter doesn’t measure her worth by her dress size.”

Lakshmi, who shares Krishna with ex Adam Dell, wished her daughter a happy 14th birthday via Instagram in February.

“There are thousands of words I could say about how proud I am to be your mother and to watch you grow. Happy birthday to my #littlehands!” she wrote alongside several throwback photos of the pair.

The model has said that wanting more time with Krishna contributed to her decision to leave Top Chef.

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“[It was] about having a personal life, to be honest, and also being present for my daughter — she’s a teenager,” she said during an August 2023 appearance on Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast. “In five years, she’s going to go off and have her own life and hopefully go to college and stuff. It wasn’t an easy decision.”

Lakshmi added that she also wanted more free time to date.

“I haven’t had a relationship in a long time either, because I’m always working. I don’t know when I [thought] I was going to meet anybody,” she said. “I’m surrounded by people I either employ or employ me, and neither of those [groups of] people are appropriate [for a romantic relationship].”

For more on celebrities’ fitness and healthy living secrets, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

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