"[I feel sexiest] right after a bath, or right after a workout, then a bath. That’s why I workout more," she explained. "It used to be about being a certain size and fitting into clothes, but now with Top Chef, I have clothes in every size in my closet, from a 4 to a 14."
"Rather than kill yourself to get into the lower size, you look skinnier in the bigger size," she added. "No one’s looking at your labels.“
Another good reason for embracing body confidence? It makes it easier to brush off the haters.
"I try to ignore them," she shares. "I have to be honest, I’m pretty lucky. I don’t get a lot of haters."
But that's not to say she never has to deal with them.
"I posted this picture this morning of me making pizza with the kids [while I was wearing a bikini], and somebody was like, 'Why are you doing this half naked? It’s really inappropriate for you to be in a bikini while you’re teaching children!'" she says. "And I was like, 'We are in a beach house. We had just come in from the ocean, so what? Children don’t have the weird, dirty mind that you do!"
And it should be noted, Lakshmi has faced must bigger challenges than online trolls. During the interview, she also gets candid about her struggles with endometriosis.
“I suffered a lot, and I missed jobs because of it," she explains. "It’s a fact that women are discriminated against in the workplace and in life, and if you add this ball and chain on top of it at a time when a girl is feeling really vulnerable and developing her self-esteem, it can wreak havoc on a young woman.”
As for how she keeps healthy, Lakshmi says she's become something of a salad master.
"I use a lot of funky vegetables and get creative with a lot of nuts, different dried fruits, or apple and mint," she reveals. "You can change it up and make it different five days a week for lunch or dinner. Then you have a glass of sangria as a treat.“
When she's not filming Top Chef, Lakshmi's diet regimen is as much about what she keeps out of her body as it is what she puts into it.
"It’s no sweets, no red meat, no wheat, no alcohol, no fried food, no dairy except for cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt," she said, noting, "But this is a milder version -- like, I can fall off the wagon one day a week... It’s a more relaxed version now, because I don’t care as much [as I used to]. I don’t need to be a size 2. It’s OK.”