The catalyst came when Corbett moved from her position as interim chief executive of Australia Post to consulting at PwC in 2018, when her coffee consumption skyrocketed to five or six skim cappuccinos a day.
Corbett says it was almost a year before she noticed the extra coffees were adding kilojoules and sugar to her diet. I just went,Im not doing anything different, whats happening?, she says.
Corbett no longer follows her meal plan to the letter, but she does observe three or four alcohol-free days each week, hits the gym with her personal trainer three times a week and avoids carbs after lunchtime.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a common challenge in the C-suite. In the face of long work days, frequent travel, lunch meetings and boozy evening events often on top of taking care of a family eating healthily can easily fall by the wayside. But some executives, like Corbett, say they have cracked the code.
Intermittent fasting and gym workouts proved the right combination for Cameron Holland.Supplied
Cameron Holland, chief executive of holiday package company Luxury Escapes, lost 14 kilograms over three months using a combination of the Fast 800 intermittent fasting regime and dawn gym sessions. In general, I find that the age-old rule of calories in and calories out is about as sophisticated a diet plan that anyone ever really needs, Holland says.
In the travel and hospitality industry, eating out is practically in the job description, he says. I love the old adage about the difference between a director and a shopping trolley you get more food in a director and get more direction from a shopping trolley, Holland quips.
When he cant avoid corporate dining, Holland observes three rules: portion control, always choose the fish, and avoid that second glass of wine. While not successful every time, it helps to at least know the boundaries, he says.
David Brewster, chief legal officer of Coles Supermarkets, says his companys no gifts policy is a blessing in disguise because it means he usually has to turn down lunch and dinner invitations. I think thats what really kills executives eating those meals that are high in salt and fat and you cant control the menu, he says.
Brewster has been an avid runner for the past decade and runs marathons to stay in shape.
If taking clients out for a meal is non-negotiable, Vanessa Bennett, chief executive of business coaching company Next Evolution Performance, suggests opting for lunch instead of dinner.
Its safer over lunch than dinner, eating-wise and drinking-wise, Bennett says, noting that the days of the long lunch have passed. People do still tend to go back to work these days.
Nicole Dynan, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, suggests looking at the restaurant menu online before arrival. Have a look so youre a little bit informed and dont have to make a rushed decision, she says.
In addition to dietary changes, all the executives who spoke to BOSS have incorporated exercise into their day, whether its a seven-minute workout app or running marathons.
Hugh Alsop, chief executive of biotechnology company Kinoxis Therapeutics, shed seven kilograms in four weeks by eating ready-made keto meals from BeFit and eliminating alcohol.
Keto is a fantastic option for people and it just really goes back to the way people used to eat. We never used to eat heaps of carbs, Alsop says. But its tough, so you need to be committed.
He no longer eats the BeFit meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but he finds them handy for lunch on the go.
Despite the popularity of the keto diet, Dynan warns that cutting all carbs can make it harder to concentrate at work, which would be an issue for executives.
Theyre doing a lot of mentally draining work and need to be firing on all cylinders, Dynan says. If theyre starving from lack of carbs, their brains going to be running on empty.
She recommends filling one quarter of your plate with healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potato, one quarter protein such as lean meat or tofu and the remaining half plate with vegetables.
Alsop says he didnt find concentration an issue, but craving carbs was a challenge. He helped curb these cravings by having healthy snacks, such as protein balls, on hand.
Travel can be another stumbling block for executives watching their weight. Bennett and Dynan recommend eating plant-based foods, avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of water. Dynan also recommends eating relatively little on flights to help the digestive system.
Corbett and Brewster both say they do what they can to avoid eating during flights."Oh no, I just avoid aeroplane food," Corbett says, laughing.