Outsourcing your Diet – One Busy CEO’s Experiment

Lloyd Ernst

Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest: Lloyd Ernst
Guest Bio: Lloyd Ernst, has had a distinguished career in the Australian IT industry as an Internet pioneer and entrepreneur. Over the past three decades, he has worked for industry leaders including Apple and Microsoft and founded and exited a series of successful IT companies in Australia and Asia. Presently, Lloyd is focused on CloudStaff.com and Process-Box.com. These two new but fast growing outsourcing ventures based in the Philippines focus on supporting startup and entrepreneurial businesses. CloudStaff offers businesses dedicated and talented people in both technical and administrative roles.

Segment overview: Listen to CEO, Lloyd Ernst explain his experiment in outsourcing his diet. Time poor and committed to many engagements that revolve around food and drinks, CEO Lloyd Ernst, says he neglected proper eating habits and paid the price. In this interview, he explains the logic and consequences of outsourcing his diet to a clinical team including two full time registered nurses. A fascinating insight into unusual outsourcing strategies.


Health Professional Radio

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar. And today my guest in studio is Mr. Lloyd Ernst, CEO and Chief Karaoke Officer for a firm in the Philippines called Cloudstaff.

Llyod Ernst: Hello Wayne.

W: It’s good to have you with me Lloyd. I’m pleased you’re not singing your part today, I noticed your business card. Clearly it’s a fun place to work.

L: Absolutely.

W: Now Lloyd, the reason that you’re here with us, as you know most of our listeners are clinicians. And I noticed the story in the media about an extraordinary process, it seems, where you’ve outsourced your dieting. Now I shouldn’t say, you’re not a small man because we are on radio, you’re what – maybe a 185 cm or something tall, six foot and my guess is up in 100 and something or others 130, 140 kilos?

L: About 150.

W: Alright. So you’re not a small man. And I know you were telling before, this is not a new phenomena for you. Dieting has been part of your life for a long time.

L: That’s right. And I’ve had varying level of successes and I think one of the interesting things about looking at weight loss is that I couldn’t lose weight. I’ve had successful weight loss through starvation methods, hard dieting, keeping a razor sharp focus. I spent some time in Thailand at health spas. And they work successfully for a while, but then after a while, you start to get involved back with business and you’ve got a very demanding lifestyle. It’s very enjoyable but then all of a sudden, you’re focused on work and the diet sort of gets off track. And then all of a sudden you’re back to where you started from. So one of the things I want to look at is that in our business, we are required by the government to have nurses on staff for our employees. And I thought, “Why I don’t I actually hire a couple of extra nurses and have them help manage my diet?” One of the challenges they have is your day is completely broken up, you’re thrown about with different meetings, and there’s ups and downs and those sort of things, you end up skipping meals. So what I’ve decided to do was hire two additional nurses and get them to control every aspect of my diet.

W: Now Lloyd that sounds extraordinary from the outside of an ordinary westerner living in Australia. But I think to put a bit of a context around this, how many people does your firm employ here?

L: So we’re over five hundred here in the Philippines.

W: So by Australian standard certainly, it’s in the top few percent by size and I think for most of the world, that’s not a small business. And you say you live a busy lifestyle. What is it about your lifestyle that makes it busier than other executives? Do you do a lot of entertaining or why is it that this is a dietary problem?

L: The role that I have in the company which is the CEO/CKO role is very much a front facing role. We have customers coming and visiting every single week. We entertain a lot with staff at the office, we try to maintain a really fun culture and so entertainment, drink, is all part of that particular culture. You start off doing a couple of dinners a week, and all of a sudden, it’s not uncommon for us to have four or five large functions at the house with staff, and customers, and potential customers, every week. We give out cakes for your anniversary when you started with Cloud Staff and cakes on your birthday and all those sort of things, so each week I’m giving out 30 or 40 new cakes. And so the whole process of business engagement sort of really does affect your diet.

W: I can see the cake point because I do have a sweet tooth. Now as well as that entertaining role that you’ve got, I understand that you actually host a lot of guests at your house. Does that impact on what you eat and your dieting process?

L: Absolutely. We have breakfast with guests, so we have lunch meetings etc. and I think any businessman, anyone who is in a busy growing business experience this does as well. Head down and even when you’re traveling, traveling is also just terrible when you go to restaurants and etc. and everyone’s got a couple bottles of wine, all those sort of stuff so and I think what’s really interesting with this diet is that it does feel like a diet. The staff prepare every single meal and they make sure that they’re served on a regular basis. And so as a result, you never feel hungry and you never feel like you’re on a diet.

W: Right. Now you’ve got two nurses who are rostered to be with you through the working hours I gather?

L: No. The nurses start 6 AM and another one starts at 3PM so we do almost follow the sun. They will prepare all of the meals, they prepare the count of all the… they do all the meal planning in conjunction with the dietician.

W: Well I was going to ask about dieticians and GP’s because I can hear my audience out there are going, “What about me? This is my specialty.” So you have a dietician involved?

L: Yes but I’ve never met him, I have outsourced that as well. When we first started the process, the nurses insisted that we go for a checkup and we go to a doctor and we have all the blood work done. And then the GP then sort of said, “Well you need to go and see a dietician.” He made a recommendation and as we left the GP I said to the nurses, “Okay well you need to see the dietician.” And they say, “But Sir, you need to come as well.” I said, “No, I’ve got no interest. You go there, you got all the facts. You’ve got all the reports. You talk to him and you work it out with him.” And so they came back after speaking to the dietician with a full meal plan and everything. They’ve got that all worked out so they liaise with the dietician.

W: Do you know just on the top of your head how many calories this is? I’m just trying to get a sense of how big or small of food portion by…

L: This is a 2,000 calories a day…

W: Okay.

L: Which to me seems huge. I’m used to … sometimes when you going this crash diet, you’re on 1,200 or 1,500 calories a day. And I thought 2,000 that’s terrible it sounds. We’re not gonna have any success. And it’s working.

W: That’s I guess the key question, isn’t it? How long have you been on the diet and what are the results this has given you?

L:  It’s still the early stages of this bigger part of this experiment. So we’re now into Month Two and we’ve lost about 7 kilos in probably about 7 weeks.

W: I’m no dietician but that sounds like it’s heading the right way at least from my perspective.

L: Well you’ve seen the shows, The Biggest Loser and then you see people losing 7 kilos in a week and I think everyone establishes that as what is achievable if I focus…

W: Yeah.

L: And so this particular part of diet it’s really about focusing on changing a lot more of the lifestyle. What’s been really interesting to me is, firstly, portion size. All of a sudden, they will turn up with a 60 grams of protein and you go, “Wow that’s small.” When you think about the restaurant that you might have been out to last week, we’re completely side tracked when it comes to portion control. And unless you have someone physically there to weigh every single piece which is what they do, you just lose that sort of focus.

W: You’re listening to Wayne Bucklar on Health Professional Radio. My guest in studio today has been Llyod Ernst, the CEO and CKO – and if you don’t know what that means, you have to get back to the beginning to listen – of Cloudstaff, a labor hire firm I guess you call it in the Philippines. Llyod has outsourced his diet and we’re just discussing now some of the learnings come to that and the first one is a 60 gram piece of chicken is a lot smaller that you ever thought it was. What are the other learnings that have come out from this for you?

L: The other learning is having smaller meals and having them throughout the day. And I know we all you all hear about it but you never really get a chance to implement that. And so what happens with the nurses is they automatically bring the meals to me whether I’m in a meeting or I’m at my desk. And what I also do is we do the classic six meals a day – three large meals and then three smaller snacks in between.  What I get them to do is actually divide those even further. So for breakfast I’ll actually take the breakfast and divide that probably into two portions, the snacks again get divided up as well. And so they end up bringing you to what is almost just individual mouthfuls or a quarter of a piece of sandwich or something like that. But what it does, it just smoothes out this whole eating process and you never ever feel hungry. In the last seven weeks, I’ve never woken up hungry in the morning, it’s just amazing. And it’s something completely different because when you’re involved in work, you’re in a meeting, you’ll skip a meal and you sort of work on through and then all of a sudden you’ll have cravings for different things and I’m just not experiencing that.

W: Now Lloyd one of the things that other guests have told me about when we’ve been talking about dieting, has been fluctuating energy levels. The after lunch slump becomes a real afternoon slump, how have you gone with those?

L: None. It’s amazing and this how it works, it really doesn’t feel like a diet. The energy levels are consistent all the way through the day. You always feel like, “What’s next? What next?” You always have energy and there’s no slumps. It’s just quite amazing.

W: It does sound like a success story waiting to come to fruition. Is this a lifestyle change for you?

L: What’s been interesting is the cravings have gone. I used to be a bit of a sweet food junky. The chocolate cakes are fantastic, the cupcakes are great. There’s no desire for them at the moment and I think because you’re not getting hungry, there’s not that desire to go and get something sickly sweet. And even when I go out now to a restaurant, if people are ordering desert, I have just no desire to order a sickly sweet desert.

W: This is Health Professional Radio. You’re listening to Wayne Bucklar with my guest in studio Lloyd Ernst from Cloudstaff in the Philippines. Lloyd it does sound like a success story, I’m just a little sorry that we don’t have in the green room a guest to follow you who is a chef or a pastry cook or something because I’d love the contrast on air but unfortunately it’s not anything as interesting as that. So you see this is a lifestyle change for you, I think the things that I’ve heard you say is the education has been very important, the maintenance of your business lifestyle while you’re dieting has been very important and I note the use of your professionals to be able to outsource some of that to other people whose primary responsibility is to get compliance from you. It seems to me that compliance is one of the issues in diet management that is a constant problem for professionals. So you get a sense that your nursing staff are in fact primary there to keep an eye on you and nag and persist and get compliance with the diet?

L: I don’t think so, there’s no real nagging. What they do, however is they just make sure everything happens. They bring the meals automatically. Even if I haven’t asked for them, they’ll put them there.

W: So doing the right thing becomes a path of least resistance?

L: Absolutely and it just happens automatically. And as I said, you’d be at a meeting and you’ll skip a meal and something like that. With this, you just don’t and it’s like they’re nagging and it doesn’t feel you’re on a diet. That’s the thing that just blows me away.

W: Well outsourcing your diet seems to be something that may in fact work. We’ll have to have you back for it. We’ll need to talk to you again in a few weeks and see how the weight loss is going but thank you this morning for being our guest on Health Professional Radio. A transcript to this story will be available on our website along with the sound archive. And if you find this in Google, you’re welcome to go back and find those at any time in the future. Lloyd, thank you for your time. It’s been my pleasure to have you on the air.

L: Thank you Wayne.


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