By Julie Mazziotta
Updated September 26, 2016 04:47 PM
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Padma Lakshmi revealed that when she’s filming Top Chef, she consumes between 7 and 8,000 calories a day of delicious (for the most part), chef-crafted dishes.

The host and former model cooked up her own favorite foods for PEOPLE Now, and talked about how she slimmed back down to fit into her slinky Naeem Khan gown for the Emmys.

“It reflects light and it’s just a single layer of silver sequins, like real metal paillettes, and probably real silver knowing Naeem,” Lakshmi explains. “But it’s very unforgiving, so I worked out a lot, oh my god, leading up to the Emmys. Because I had just come out of filming Top Chef, so I was eating a lot.”

“I consume like 7 or 8,000 calories a DAY on set.”

Steve Granitz/WireImage
| Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Lakshmi, who was nominated with Top Chef for outstanding reality competition at the Emmys, switched to a far more restrictive diet ahead of the awards show on Sept. 18.

“I was just eating fish and chicken, a lot of vegetables, a lot of beans, lentils,” she explains. “I was eating rice, but about a tennis ball size of rice with each meal. And no bread, no fried food, no alcohol, no red meats, no sweets. But it was worth it.”

RELATED VIDEO: Padma Lakshmi Reveals What Goes Into the ‘Cranberry Drano’ She Invented to Combat Top Chef Weight Gain

Though she’s relaxed her diet a bit more now, Lakshmi is going to mostly stick with it — with one exception.

“I probably will keep a lot of it up, but I probably will have a nice drink of champagne, which I did have at the Emmys. I had several!”