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Padma Lakshmi didn’t try to lose weight before bikini shoot with Sports Illustrated

Padma Lakshmi, 52, shares her favorite workout to counter weight gain she experiences during "Top Chef" and how she got ready for those bikini pictures.
/ Source: TODAY

Padma Lakshmi stunned with her "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit" photos, and she surprised fans again when she revealed how she prepared for those bikini pictures — by not losing weight.

“I just ramped everything up. I was already doing my post-"Top Chef" workout, which is just getting back into shape, so I just made sure that I did extra cardio,” Lakshmi, 52, told People magazine. “I didn’t lose any weight for the swimsuit edition. I just wanted to be as fit and toned as I could be.”

Lakshmi also shared her favorite way to feel the burn.  

“I’ve been boxing for over 20 years on and off, when my joints permit it,” she says. “I love it.”   

Lakshmi told Jimmy Kimmel in a May interview that she consumes anywhere from 8,000 to 9,000 calories a day while hosting “Top Chef.” She recently announced she was leaving the show after 20 seasons, in part, to focus on “Taste the Nation,” which she also hosts. In a 2017 essay for the Hollywood Reporter, Lakshmi elaborated on her frequent weight changes.

“When filming ‘Top Chef,’ I consume about 5,000 to 8,000 calories a day. We start with anywhere from 15 to 18 contestants, and I have to take a bite or two from each of their plates to adequately judge each dish. Every day. It adds up,” she wrote. “I typically gain anywhere from 10 to 17 pounds every season. Once I get home, what’s taken me six weeks to gain takes me 12 weeks to take off.”

In May, Lakshmi reflected on her Sports Illustrated shoot to TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones. 

“It’s happening much later in my life than I thought it would,” she said. “It was so exciting to do it. … I would have killed for it in my 20s when I was a model, but that it’s happening now is all the much sweeter, and I’m glad they’re being more diverse.”

Still, she felt “pretty nervous.”

“I’m 52 years old and I think I look great for my age, and I definitely work at it,” she said in a promotional video for the swimsuit issue

Lakshmi added that she now feels more comfortable than ever with her body.

“I love where I am in my life and know my body is not perfect by any means, but I feel beautiful. I have a very lucky, fruitful, productive life,” she said. “My thighs may have been leaner, and my boobs were probably slightly higher in earlier parts of my life, but I have never felt better about myself. I hope they see a full woman in all my facets and nuances and some contradictions. I wouldn’t got back to my 20s if you paid me all the money in the world.”