As a model, actress and bikini designer, it makes sense that Elizabeth Hurley, 56, wants to look her best.
Although mother-of-one Liz is naturally blessed by the gene pool, it still takes work to stay that beautiful; from a well-thought-out exercise regimen to a nutritious diet, plus plenty of R&R.
Last week, Liz visited the famous wellness retreat, Vivamayr, in Austria for a serious rehab.
It’s not just a fancy spa or a week-long getaway, it’s a complete reset of mind and body that, as I’ve discovered, takes a lot of mental resilience.
Actress Rebel Wilson loves it. Adele loves it. American TV star Mischa Barton loves it. And model Naomi Campbell loves it. It’s basically the worst-kept celebrity wellness secret.
Vivamayr is based on the Mayr method; a diet created by Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr in the 1920s.
He focused heavily on gut health and discovered that it was the underlying cause of so many diseases and ailments.
So gut health and digestion are the name of the game at Vivamayr, clients receive a tailored treatment plan to help readjust their body and mind.
It’s not for the faint-hearted though, as I discovered when I followed in Liz’s footsteps to find out exactly what detox really entails…
Meals are tiny
Vivamayr’s food is tailored to each customer, based on their dietary needs, assessed and assigned by a doctor.
Liz reportedly ate three small meals a day, with no snacks and just herbal teas or water in between.
It is indeed ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper’ at Vivamayr.
Breakfast usually consists of a palm-sized piece of spelled or buckwheat bread known as the “chew trainer” (thanks to the fact that it requires endless chewing to break down) and one or two small side dishes.
A few slides of smoked salmon perhaps, or a tub of sheep’s milk yogurt the size of cream cheese.
Lunch is a little fancier – again individualized and fist-sized, but beautifully presented.
Two meatballs in a potato cream with root vegetables, or a slice of beef on a mousse of peas with carrots and steamed parsnips.
Dinner, the lightest meal, is a very clear vegetable broth and a bowl of boiled potatoes.
Yes, I was hungry. Just like Liz judging by her #veryhungry hashtag on Instagram.
However, my tummy got a welcome break from the booze, coffee, food packets, and endless grazing.
Eating takes time
There are no gobbled meals at this resort.
Technology is banned from the dining room — and most of the resort for that matter — and guests are advised to chew each bite 20-30 times.
After all, digestion begins in the mouth!
It is also recommended to avoid drinking during meals, as well as immediately before and after.
Liz will also have been told to try to avoid reading during meals, so that all of her mind is focused entirely on the food.
A LOT of time spent in the bathroom
Listen, I won’t go into detail, but with gut health at the forefront of this retreat, it’s only natural that detox involves, uh, flushing things out.
Guests are given either Epsom salt water or foul-tasting magnesium powder to drink immediately upon waking.
Although the latter is a bit kinder to my guts, Epsom’s salt water literally rushes through you.
Add to that colonic irrigation – a treatment prescribed to many patients at Vivamayr – and you really are “empty”.
Forget pill supplements; IV drops are the solution here
Treatment plans at Vivamayr include IV drops; these deliver vitamins and minerals directly into the bloodstream.
They take about 20 minutes and during that time, while a needle rests in your arm, guests can lie back and enjoy the wonderful view.
And it’s the views a bit that make your jaw drop.
The first nights are not negotiable
At Vivamayr, a 9 p.m. curfew means guests are pretty much all tucked away in their rooms for several hours before the clock strikes 12 p.m.
Liz will have been treated to a turndown service between 6 and 7 p.m., in which a bedtime herbal tea is prepared, ready for deep relaxation.
There is also a large red switch next to each bed that shuts off all electricity in the bedroom.
This is said to eliminate electrical waves that can disrupt deep sleep.
Vivamayr has thought of everything.
It’s not cheap
Of course, some of the biggest names in showbiz go here; they have the dollar for it.
However, for the average Joe, it’s quite a blow on the wallet.
Prices start from €220 per night with a one-week package starting at €2,145.
Personally, as a health journalist, I am willing to invest a lot of money in my health and well-being, but it is my priority and I appreciate that not everyone is able to do so.
A week at Vivamayr is exhausting but also liberating.
You step away from the hustle and bustle of life and enter a calm and serene environment.
Doctors and specialists are on hand whenever you need them and the staff are incredibly attentive.
I’m not going to lie, detox is hard; you almost have to drag yourself over it and there were times when I could barely hold my head up.
But once you come out the other side, you feel good.
If that’s what it takes to look as good as Liz Hurley, I’m in!