AS a model, actress and bikini designer, it makes sense that Elizabeth Hurley, 56, wants to stay looking and feeling her best.
Although mum-of-one Liz is naturally blessed by the genepool, it does still take some work to stay looking this good; from a well thought out exercise regime to a nutritious diet, as well as plenty of R&R.
Last week, Liz took a visit to the world famous wellness retreat, Vivamayr, in Austria for a serious detox.
This isn’t just a fancy spa or a week’s getaway, it’s a full on mind and body reset that, as I discovered, takes a hella lot of mental resilience.
Actress Rebel Wilson loves it. Adele loves it. US TV star Mischa Barton loves it. And supermodel Naomi Campbell loves it. It’s basically the worst kept celebrity wellness secret.
Vivamayr is based on The Mayr Method; an eating plan created by Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr in the 1920s.
He focused heavily on gut health and found it to be the underlying cause of so many illnesses and ailments.
So, gut health and digestion is the name of the game at Vivamayr, with guests given a bespoke treatment plan to help them re-tune their body and mind.
It’s not for the faint hearted though, as I found out when I followed in Liz’s footsteps to find out exactly what the detox really involves…
The meals are TINY
The food at Vivamayr is tailored to each guest, depending on their dietary requirements, as assessed and allocated by a doctor.
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Liz would have eaten three small meals a day, with no snacking and just herbal teas or water in between.
It’s very much a case of ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’ at Vivamayr.
Breakfast tends to consist of a palm-sized piece of spelt or buckwheat bread known as ‘the chewing trainer’ (thanks to the fact it requires endless chewing to break down), and one or two small accompaniments.
A couple of smoked salmon slithers perhaps, or a fromage-frais sized pot of sheep yoghurt.
Lunch is a little fancier – again individualised and fist-sized, yet beautifully presented.
Two meatballs in a potato cream with root vegetables, or a slice of beef on a pea mousse with a steamed carrot and parsnip.
Dinner, the lightest meal, is a very clear vegetable broth and bowl of boiled potatoes.
Yes, I was hungry. As was Liz judging by her #veryhungry hashtag on Instagram.
However, my tummy got a welcome break from booze, coffee, packet food and endless grazing.
Eating takes time
There’s no wolfing down meals at this resort.
Technology is banned from the dining area – and most of the resort for that matter – and guests are advised to chew each mouthful 20 to 30 times.
After all, digestion starts in the mouth!
It’s recommended to avoid drinking during meals too, as well as immediately before and after.
Liz will also have been told to try and avoid reading during meal times, so the entire mind is focused completely on the food.
A LOT of time is spent on the toilet
Look, I won’t go into details, but with gut health at the forefront of this retreat, it’s only natural that detoxing will involve, erm, flushing things out.
Guests are either given epsom salt water or a foul-tasting magnesium powder, to drink immediately upon waking.
Although the latter was a little kinder on my gut, the epsom salt water literally goes straight through you.
Throw a colonic irrigation in the mix – a treatment prescribed to many patients at Vivamayr – and you really are ‘empty’.
Forget pill supplements; IV drips are the go-to here
Among treatment plans at Vivamayr are IV drips; these deliver vitamins and minerals straight to the bloodstream.
They take around 20 minutes and in that time, while a needle is resting in your arm, guests can lie back and relish the delightful view.
And these are the kinda views that make your jaw drop.
Early nights are a non negotiable
At Vivamayr, a 9pm curfew means guests are pretty much all tucked away in their rooms several hours before the clock strikes 12.
Liz will have been treated to a turn-down service between 6 and 7pm, in which a bedtime herbal tea is laid out, ready for a deep wind down.
There’s also a large red switch next to every bed that turns off all the electricity in the room.
This is said to remove electro waves which can disrupt deep sleep.
Vivamayr have thought of it all.
It’s not cheap
Of course some of the biggest showbiz names go here; they’ve got the dollar for it.
However, for the average Joe, it’s a pretty big hit on the wallet.
Prices start from €220 euros a night with a one week plan starting at €2,145.
Personally, as a health journalist, I am willing to invest a lot of money in my health and wellbeing, but that’s my priority and I appreciate that not everyone is able to do that.
To sum up…
A week at Vivamayr is gruelling but also liberating.
You step away from the rush of life and step into a calm, serene environment.
Doctors and specialists are on hand whenever you need and the staff are incredibly attentive.
I won’t lie, detoxing is tough; you have to almost drag yourself through it and there are times when I could barely hold my head up.
But once you come out the other side, you feel good.
If this is what it takes though to look as good as Liz Hurley, I’m in!