The foodie tells Fitness she follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to slim back down

By Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated October 23, 2013 10:25 AM
Credit: Courtesy Fitness

Hosting Top Chef has many perks, but staying super-slim after a season sampling an array of dishes is not one of them.

Luckily, Padma Lakshmi doesn’t mind one bit – and even admitted she goes up two dress sizes at the end of every season.

“I love food way too much to starve myself just to look good,” the single mom told Fitness for its November/December cover story, out Oct. 29. “I will put in the work at the gym so I can enjoy what I eat.”

Lakshmi, 43, posed for Fitness shortly after wrapping the eleventh season of the show in New Orleans, and was straightforward about the disciplined diet and exercise regimen she follows after each season ends.

“I follow a clean diet: no meats, no sweets, no alcohol, no cheese, no fried food, no wheat,” she explained. “And I work out five days a week, boxing three days, lifting weights the other two.”

Yet because Lakshmi loves food so much, she said she doesn’t deny herself what she really wants for too long.

“I believe in everything in moderation. I never say, ‘No, I can’t have any of that.’ I have it and enjoy it! After I finish this photo shoot, I’m going out for pizza, and I’m literally going to take down a whole large pie by myself.”

Lakshmi has good reason not to get too concerned about scarfing down all those slices. She told Fitness that while she was pregnant with daughter Krishna, now 3 ½, those extra curves came with extra attention.

“It took 13 months to get the weight off. It was hard. I went from a size 4 to a size 14 when I was pregnant. What’s interesting, though, is that, in my experience, men don’t want skinny girls. When I was a size 14, I got much more attention from men than I do now,” she told the magazine.

Even so, it appears the host sticks to her exercise regimen – even if she has to work a bit harder these days.

“I’ve seen a slow decline in my metabolism from the time I was 30. Even when I’m at my ideal weight, I have to work out regularly – otherwise I’m jiggly.”