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Bravo's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi has been candid in the past about her weight gain during filming for each season of the show: She expects to gain between 10 and 15 pounds each time, eating roughly 7,000 calories a day. And now that Season 16 is underway in Kentucky, Padma is opening up about what exactly is behind those fluctuations — and it's not just the obvious fact that her job requires her to taste decadent food in significant volume.
"I was drinking bourbon or mint juleps [regularly]," Padma told The Feast. "You don’t think about it because it’s a liquid — but it does add up."
Of course, Padma was also enjoying the Kentucky comfort foods when she was not on set — but it's not just what she was eating that changed the game. It's that her whole eating routine changed, and it reset her body's hunger trigger response. "I was eating a lot off set too. [And] once you start eating that much on a daily basis, your stomach expects that much food and you get in the habit of it, so you feel hungry even after you eat a lot of food when you may not normally feel that way."
After returning home from Kentucky, Padma started to turn things around. "I’m mostly plant based at home. I do eat meat like I’m going to make a roast for Christmas and you make ragu as well. But for the most part, naturally just getting more sleep, going to the gym regularly, drinking enough water, and eating food that’s much more simple will help me. But it takes me twice as long to drop the weight as it takes me to gain it."
—Reporting by Laura Rosenfeld
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