Padma Lakshmi just turned 52 and is clearly thriving: The Top Chef host posted a birthday picture of herself wearing a black bathing suit, with a flower wreath in her hair. “✨This is 52✨,” she captioned the gorgeous shot. How does she stay so fit? Read on to see 5 ways Lakshmi stays in shape and the photos that prove they work—and to get beach-ready yourself, don’t miss these essential 30 Best-Ever Celebrity Bathing Suit Photos!
Lakshmi always eats before exercising to keep her energy levels up. “I have to eat in the morning before my workout because I won’t make it through my workout if I don’t,” she tells Eating Well. “Carbs supply the energy to carry you through your workout,” says sports dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD. “Protein provides amino acids that your body uses to repair and build muscle.”
Lakshmi eats yogurt with every meal, to offset the spicy foods she loves. “I guess I eat a lot of yogurt,” says Lakshmi. “It helps calm my tummy with spicy food. It also just makes me feel good. I think it’s nice to have a little bit with every meal, or most meals, if you can.” Yogurt is a fantastic source of protein, experts say. “For managing your weight, try Greek yogurt,” says Julia Zumpano, RD. “It has more protein, which can help you feel fuller longer.”
Lakshmi and her daughter Krishna, 12, make sure fruits and vegetables make up at least 50% of their diet. “I believe you set a child’s eating patterns by the time they’re four or five, and the best way to get a child to eat healthily is to eat well yourself,” she says. “We try to keep our diet 50% fruits and vegetables, and Krishna knows that I’ll look over her plate.”
Lakshmi eats healthy food, but also knows when to indulge. If she and daughter Krishna have a treat, they make up for it over the next couple of days. “Mainly, I stress balance,” she says. “Last night we had takeout pizza, and Krishna finished it off with Häagen-Dazs, so for the next couple of days we’ll have to be healthier.”
When your job is to eat for a living, exercising is non-negotiable. “Honestly, the secret is just living in the gym,” Lakshmi says. “I spend a lot of time working out. I work out at least five or six days a week for one or two hours a day. I have to, because I’m working with food. I have two TV shows that both require me to eat a ton of food… But it’s hard. It just takes a lot of hard work but I’d rather eat more food that I enjoy and just put more time in in the gym than starve myself because that’s not healthy and I’m not capable of that anyways.”
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more