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Padma Lakshmi Says Her Red Carpet Diet Sends Negative Signals To Her Daughter

Padma Lakshmi (photosPadma Lakshmi photos) says she usually stresses out and diets to fit into a "size 0" runway dress at the Emmy Awards but this year she's taking a different approach.

The 46-year-old 'Top Chef' judge says she's typically trying to lose the "10 to 17 lbs" that she's gained while filming the show each season.

"I find myself in the unique position of eating for a living while still being expected to look a certain way — let's call it 'red carpet ready,'" she explains in a column in THR.

"While I can clearly point to the many ways our society constantly reinforces this pressure, the truth is, my own vanity also plays a big role. I want to look good, to be fit and to fit into those fancy couture dresses."

"It's always a nail-biting extravaganza at fittings, praying that a few pretty dresses that came down the runway on a teenage model who is a size 0 will miraculously fit my 40-something body."

"It's like a poem: no meat, no wheat, no cheese, no fried foods or sweets. And, of course, no alcohol," she says of her 'disciplined diet'.

Lakshmi says she was following the same diet this year until an episode with her 7-year-old daughter, Krishna, made her rethink the message she was sending.

"Recently, I realized my daughter has been listening to me talk about my weight. When we have taco night, I have taco salad with just a few crumpled chips. No tortillas, sour cream or cheese. When we order pizza, I get it for her, but I have leftovers of brown rice and lentils. When we make pasta, I have only Ragu with greens."

"She's noticed, and suddenly she's told me and others in our circle, 'I don't want to eat because I'm watching my figure,' or, 'I weigh too much,' Her comments stopped me dead in my tracks. Her words scared me. Language matters. We send signals to our daughters every day. And I am her first touchstone of femininity."

"Every message I telegraph about food and our bodies is important. So, this year, I've decided my weight will not be my focus. If I need a bigger dress, so be it," she says.

"That one day — or any day — on the red carpet isn't nearly as important as making sure my daughter doesn't measure her worth by her dress size."

August 24, 2017 |

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