Padma Lakshmi is revealing her secret to staying in great shape while also taste testing every delicious dish on Top Chef.
The host, 47, said she consumes “at least seven to eight thousand calories a day” while filming the Bravo show, but that the weight gain that goes along with it hasn’t scared her off from doing her job.
“I eat so much food [on the show]. I gain more weight now because I’m older,” Lakshmi said during an interview with Access. “I gain now like 15 pounds and in Chicago, I gained 17 because of deep dish pizza.”
When asked how she stays fit and healthy, the Top Chef host said she relies on a strict diet full of healthy options.
“I’m at my skinniest right now because I finished filming the show for a few months. I have clothes from a size four to a size fourteen, from when I was pregnant, and go up a size,” she said. “No one is looking at your tag. It’s better that it fits you well—everyone tries to squeeze in one size of jeans, it just makes you look like a sausage.”
She continued, “But beyond that to get the weight off it’s really hard, there are no tricks, it’s just eating healthy. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t eat fried food. I don’t eat red meat. I don’t eat any dairy, except low-fat cottage cheese and non-fat yogurt. I don’t eat sweets. Oh, and I don’t eat flour.”
While it may sound tough, the host insists her diet is pretty simple to follow.
“I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. I eat fish and chicken and shellfish. I also eat a lot of lentils and beans,” she said. “When I’m not on the show, I’m pretty plant-based. I was raised as a vegetarian in India and in America. We had a vegetarian home. I didn’t really start eating meat until I was a teenager, so I’m used to eating like that. It’s hard for your body to process meat.”
While she’s hard at work filming the hit Bravo show, Lakshmi said she gives herself “license to eat.”
“For legal reasons, I have to make sure I try everything so I just give myself license,” she said. “As women, we’re conditioned to do everything, and we can do everything you just can’t always do it at once.”
This Story Originally Appeared On People