Padma Lakshmi is the host of Top Chef. Imagine having to taste and look at food all day. What a tough job! She is my style and body icon. She is gorgeous and loves herself at any size. Padma is a true inspiration.
“I would rather spend half my life at the gym and eat whatever I want than sit on my ass and starve.”
So how do you lose the weight you gain on the show?
I follow a clean diet: no meats, no sweets, no alcohol, no cheese, no fried food, no wheat. And I work out five days a week, boxing three days, lifting weights the other two.
Do you change your workout after you reach your goal?
To maintain my weight I strength-train, use the treadmill and elliptical, and box three times a week. I also do planks at home and jump rope. I carry a jump rope with me everywhere, especially when I’m working. It’s a great way to squeeze in a quick workout and get your heart rate up when you don’t have time to go to the gym.
You gained 45 pounds while pregnant with your daughter, Krishna, who’s now 3. Was it harder to get that weight off?
Yes! I did all my usual workouts, but the most important thing was that I found an exercisebuddy in my makeup artist, Michelle. Having an appointment with her makes me get to the gym. Instead of meeting friends for dinner or drinks, meet to work out! You can still spend an hour and a half chitchatting, but you’re getting in your reps too. Also, I always try to get enough sleep because the body holds on to more calories when it’s tired, and I tend to eat more when I’m tired. Rest is important to weight loss.
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.
Has your body changed since you turned 40?
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. So I exercise consistently, even if it’s just doing some jumping jacks, planks, and stairs, or jumping rope for 10 minutes. I notice a difference if I go a week without exercise.
What are your healthiest habits?
I drink a homemade cleanse of two ounces of pure cranberry juice, six ounces of either green tea or plain water, one Emergen-C Vitamin C packet, and a teaspoon of fiber powder three times a day. I also drink two to three liters of water a day.
What’s your food weakness?
I have lots of them. Pizza, nachos, cheese, potato chips, fried chicken. 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.
Eating Out without Guilt:
- “I cheat on my date. I eat a cup of cottage cheese before going out so I won’t gorge myself. It fills me up, and you can’t beat it for calcium and protein. I season and dress it with vinegars and spices and serve it like fresh mozzarella or fancy goat cheese. Honestly, in my house it’s a glamorous ingredient — not a diet food — that my kid is always trying to steal from me.”
- “I ask the server to take the bread basket away. If you go to a restaurant hungry, you’ll inevitably start eating the bread. Why torture yourself? If I’m really craving a slice, I’ll butter and eat the crust only, because that’s the yummy part where the flavor is. I don’t eat the center because, to me, it’s like a sponge. I just picture it on my thighs!”
- “I eat the carbs on my plate last. By the time I’ve eaten all of the protein and vegetables, I may not want all of the potato.”
- “I drink 10 ounces of water after every glass of wine. Water fills you up, and alcohol is just empty calories. I would rather eat my calories than drink them.”