Padma Lakshmi talks about the pressure to diet ahead of the Emmy Awards after gaining "10 to 17 lbs." during each season of Top Chef
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Inaugural Global Goals Gala: A Night For Change
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

Every Emmy Awards season, Padma Lakshmi stresses out and diets to fit into a “size 0” runway dress after months of eating during Top Chef filming. But this year, the host and former model says she’s not going to worry about it.

Lakshmi, 46, says she’s typically trying to lose the “10 to 17 lbs.” that she gains each season on Top Chef.

“I find myself in the unique position of eating for a living while still being expected to look a certain way — let’s call it ‘red carpet ready.’ While I can clearly point to the many ways our society constantly reinforces this pressure, the truth is, my own vanity also plays a big role. I want to look good, to be fit and to fit into those fancy couture dresses,” she writes in a column for The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s always a nail-biting extravaganza at fittings, praying that a few pretty dresses that came down the runway on a teenage model who is a size 0 will miraculously fit my 40-something body.”

Ahead of the show, Lakshmi works out for two hours a day and follows a “disciplined diet.”

“It’s like a poem: no meat, no wheat, no cheese, no fried foods or sweets. And, of course, no alcohol,” she says.

RELATED VIDEO: Padma Lakshmi Gained 17 Lbs. from Deep Dish Pizza on Top Chef

Lakshmi says she had been following her usual diet this year until she realized her feelings about her body had started to rub off on her 7-year-old daughter Krishna.

“She’s noticed, and suddenly she’s told me and others in our circle, ‘I don’t want to eat because I’m watching my figure,’ or, ‘I weigh too much,’ ” Lakshmi says. “Her comments stopped me dead in my tracks. Her words scared me. Language matters. We send signals to our daughters every day. And I am her first touchstone of femininity.”

For her daughter’s sake, Lakshmi says she’s going to relax her standards.

“Every message I telegraph about food and our bodies is important. So, this year, I’ve decided my weight will not be my focus. If I need a bigger dress, so be it,” she says. “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.”