10/23/2013 AT 10:25 AM ET
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.”