The Surprising Way Top Chef Affects Padma Lakshmi's Body

Arguably one of the most popular culinary shows on television, "Top Chef" is just as renowned for its stunningly beautiful co-host Padma Lakshmi as it is for the evocative dishes and hopeful crops of talented professional chefs who compete against one another for its top honors. Despite having hosted the show since 2006, Lakshmi, whose full name is Padma Parvati Lakshmi Vaidynatha, maintains a healthy physique that harks back to the days she spent as a fashion model (via Bravo).

It's no surprise to anyone who has ever seen the show that Lakshmi and the other judges are often compelled to eat copious amounts of food. According to Bravo, it is not unusual to taste dishes from up to as many as 15 contestants in a day. The stakes get even higher with multi-course dinners, food festivals, and fairs, as well as the iconic "restaurant wars" all being standard food challenges that require the consumption of countless calories.

Padma Lakshmi works out so she can indulge

The "Top Chef" schedule is bound to take a toll on anyone's waistline, and Us Weekly reported that Lakshmi confessed to usually going up an average of two dress sizes during each cycle of "Top Chef." While weight gain may be inevitable, Lakshmi has a healthy outlook towards enjoying food and living life. She freely admitted to having a weak spot for cheese and treating herself to junk food such as pizza, fried chicken, potato chips – in moderation.

"I love food way too much to starve myself just to look good," she said. "I will put in the work at the gym so I can enjoy what I eat." And put in the work she does. When not working on the show she is committed to a five-day-a-week exercise schedule that includes boxing, weight lifting, and climbing stairs. Her post-production diet consists of "clean eating" in which she will restrict meat, sugar, and wheat and eliminate alcohol as well as her beloved fried chicken from her diet.