Personally speaking, I had never been a fan of detoxing. Until now. After one week at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth, my view has changed. And so has my life. It is not only a cure, it is a lifestyle. Sounds too dramatic? Only the truth but please see for yourself what happened in this one week in Austria.
When I booked my trip, I didn’t really pay attention to the location. Maria Wörth belongs to the Austrian state of Carinthia. The centre of the resort town is situated on a peninsula at the southern shore of the Wörthersee, where the detox resort is also located. It is just above the Slovenian border. There are many options to get to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth from Zurich, by train (too many changes of trains), by plane (you can land in Klagenfurt for example and will be picked up from the airport) and by car. I chose the latter, almost 700 km, the route takes you via Munich, Salzburg to Maria Wörth. As the longest part of the trip is on the German autobahn, and as I drive a Porsche 911, I made it in 6.5 hours with one stop on the way at Burger King (not recommendable to eat this kind of food before detoxing, you will understand later why) to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth.
Finding inner peace at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth
My goal was: «Take a break from my daily routine. Reduce my stress. Relax and unwind. Feel healthier.» That was exactly what I was looking for. But I had a second reason to go to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth and that was my dear travel companion, my 17 year-old daughter Anouk. Being stressed with college applications, exams and the typical teenage problems, I observed her graving for unhealthy food, snacks and soft drinks. My maternal advice was unheard and made it even worse. I was convinced if she felt the change nutrition can have on the body and mind herself, she would become more aware of it and enjoy greater balance and health afterwards. And my plan worked out…
My room at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth and the view from my balcony.
On a Sunday morning in October 2019 during fall break, we drove all the way to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth. Anouk was skeptical, totally scared she would be starving to death the next week. When we arrived, I was kind of unsure as well. From the outside, it looked more like a private hospital in concrete past the prime of its life than a five star hotel. Inside, it was quiet and we were greeted warm-heartedly by a lovely receptionist who handed us two glass bottles for water that we could carry around during the day. The style itself is quite Scandinavian, white tiles as well as light wood floors combined with natural fabrics in muted colors. Our room was spacious with a beautiful view on the lake.
The world’s most glamorous have been sneaking off to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth for dramatic health makeovers. While I was there, Chase Crawford had checked in.
I had read about VIVAMAYR before, supposedly the hottest health and weight loss destination in Europe. Let’s be frank, the world’s most glamorous have been there. Liz Hurley just left and Alber Elbaz, former Creative Director of Lanvin, is coming here yearly for a health makeover. While we were there, Gossip Girl star Chase Crawford had checked in together with German supermodel Anna Ewers. They had the table close to us in the dining room. Let’s be frank, if such a glam couple comes for their first trip together to VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth, it must be cool. At this point, my daughter was on board.
Karlie Kloss photographed by Mario Testing for Vogue UK at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth
VOGUE UK came all the way to Austria to shoot an amazing editorial with Karlie Kloss and Mario Testino at the famous detox resort. And then there is this fabulous book «The Viva Mayr Diet» by Dr. Harald Stossier, who directs the prestigious VIVAMAYR Medical Centre, and Helena Frith Powell, former serial dieter and author of «Two Lipsticks and a Lover», that promises 14 days to a flatter stomach and a younger you, even while having a glass of wine. Do I have your attention now?
Let me get you started with a sneak preview of facts every girl should know:
• Agonising over water or wine at dinner? Make it wine every time!
• Stop eating on the move! Eating when you’re all stressed out is your no.1 enemy.
• Eat a cheese burger really slowly and it’ll be better for you than wolfing down an all-organic fancy salad.
• Never, ever skip breakfast! If you’re really that busy, drop dinner from your day instead.
Changing your lifestyle at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth…
After one week already at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth, my stomach that tends to be my week point felt amazingly well, no cramps or tensions, and my skin was absolutely glowing. I felt so good I have decided to incorporate certain things in my nutritional plan and make it my way of life. Let’s face it girls, you are what you eat. But what does the magic at VIVAMAYR?
Serhan Güven, Managing Director VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth, told me about the plans to renovate and built a new clinic next door that will focus on mental issues such as burn-out syndrome or depressions. Funny… I look like the doctor in my bathrobe.
Medical treatments developed by Dr. F.X. Mayr assume we can «become healthy, happy, and more efficient» by temporarily changing our normal diet. Regular (lifelong) fasting leads to greater health by observing specific dietary guidelines and changing eating habits. Every patient at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth is seen each day by a doctor. I had been assigned to Dr. Werner Zancolo, who explained me that the VIVAMAYR Principle was developed on the basis of modern Mayr medicine, based on the four principles of Rest, Cleanse, Train and Substitute with the goal of integrating and practicing each principle individually for a period of time. The reason why it is so successful and worked perfectly for me is that the dietary guidelines are combined with modern complementary procedures including Functional Myodiagnostics (A.K.) and Orthomolecular Medicine. Tuning into your health and well-being is a memorable experience of self-discovery. «Bring your health back to life» – this is the catchy slogan which is exactly what you are doing at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth.
Dr. Werner Zancolo performing a tummy massage followed by an Applied Kinesiology test, after which he determined that I was fructose-intolerant.
Once the great team of doctors have treated your condition, proper nutrition combined with exercise and improved mental awareness become the building blocks of your new life.
We arrived on a Sunday late afternoon and our first meal was dinner that is served between 6-7 pm. Everything at VIVAMAYR follows a strict schedule. You are asked to go to bed early pushing the button next to your night table to cut off all electricity that is said to lead to better sleep. In the beginning, it feels more like being in a health jail, than a detox deluxe.
The dining room where you have all your meals at VIVAMAYR Maria Woerth.
In the dining room, the so-called patients eat in silence, mainly dressed in white terry-cloth robes and matching slippers. A sign on each table showing a cell phone, an iPad and a computer, all with a thick red line through them, banned any form of technology or communication with the outside world. The focus should be on the act of chewing as this is an important part of the digestion. Therefore you always get a stale spelt bread. Mayr believed the staler the bread, the more you chew it, therefore the better it is for you. Who would have thought that masticating 40 times before swallowing could be so difficult? But there is method to this madness. Chewing slowly and intensively promotes the production of an enzyme called amylase which helps your gut digest your food more easily. Eat in peace and with pleasure, chew extensively in order to salivate the food well, and avoid raw food in the evening.
All day you can prepare yourself yummy herbal teas.
Very important at VIVAMAYR is that you keep cold liquids separate from mealtimes. You’re asked not to drink for half an hour before and after mealtimes. Something that you should be always doing in order not to dilute the digestive juices. The biggest meals are breakfast and lunch, dinner should be light and small. Something I cannot integrate in my lifestyle as supper is my biggest meal of the day for me also in terms of social aspects.
The food served is very satisfying, even that the portions are not so big. The intense chewing helps.
The nutrition plan is based on the principle of maintaining a healthy acid–alkaline balance. For the optimal flow of all metabolic processes, a balanced ratio of acids and bases is important. It is also reasonable to ensure that the food is balanced when it comes to eating: less meat, fish, cheese, white bread, pasta, rice and sugar, but more vegetables, potatoes, mature local fruit and cold-pressed vegetable oils.
No need to suffer…
The transition phase at VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth was extremely tough on me, less on my daughter. The deprivation of caffeine, alcohol and sugar lead to severe headaches. Something that the lovely team at the detox resort is familiar with. You can feel that your body is rebooting which also takes a lot of strength, makes you feel shaky, weak and extremely tired. All the energy goes to your gut that is the center of your health. If your digestive system works well, everything is in the flow. Patients start their morning in general at VIVAMAYR with instructions to drink a large dose of vile, bitter-tasting Epsom salts, which induces a significant bathroom visit. My daughter and I were prescribed the lighter version, magnesium citrate to help cleanse our guts.
Fighting my back pain with the help of the Detensor spine traction decompression therapy device.
Be prepared that the way to a glowing complexion means being sallow-skinned, with enormous dark-purple circles under your eyes, and some break-outs at your chin. On the third day, I even had to have an IV with pain killers because also my lumbago all of a sudden became severe. Then your transformation begins, all of a sudden, as the week passed, the detox program became more pleasurable. Instead of pining to go home, I wanted to stay and feel even better. My energy levels rose, cellulite, which is a phenomenon of overacidification, my dear ladies, disappeared completely, my skin was glowing and I was in a great mood. Of course I was hooked and wanted to make the VIVAMAYR diet a way of life. And so was my daughter. Her teenage skin problems had diminished only in a few days, she felt less tired and less bloated.
One of my favorite treatments was the oxygen therapy where you «climb» the Mount Everest 5 times in 30 minutes in terms of the oxygen levels. While you do this, you build more blood cells and get more energized.
Be prepared that you will have extra costs due to additional treatments that I highly recommend, I loved the massages, detox foot bath, oxygen treatment and more… The more distraction you have, the easier it is to transition into your new lifestyle.
If you want to make a permanent dent into those belly rings or wobbly knees you’ve got to look a bit further into the future. The difference is that after you understood the concept you’ll be hooked, will have less pitfalls and it will feel normal to follow this regime as it is reaching for your lipstick.
Exercising is as important as your changing your nutrition.
Key facts that I have incorporated in my daily routine and that help me not to be bloated anymore:
• I stopped drinking Coke Zero at all. As your body tries to maintain the acid-alkaline balance, diet pop leaches the calcium out of bones, which can lead to osteoporosis. If you are toxic, you are consuming your own minerals.
• I take the VIVAMAYR alkaline powder on a daily basis which helps to reduce the overacidification of the body that we all most likely have.
• Instead of starting my day with three cappuccinos, I have two matcha teas. The reason for it is very obvious. In the morning our energy levels are high already, when we push them to extreme with caffeine, it has contra-productive effects. Saving the cup of coffee for the time when you are feeling drowsy after lunch, is much better for your health.
• I eliminated raw vegan regimes in the evening, salads only at lunch. The cold raw food is tough on the digestion. I feel so much better since then.
• A big step for me was changing my beloved Kinder chocolate bar in the morning for a healthy breakfast. I mostly eat porridge or fruits with yoghurt and walnuts.
My daughter has absolutely changed her eating habits, makes now healthier nutritional choices and exercises more. I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome.
So close from VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth: Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque spots to visit in Slovenia.
For those who get bored easily, there are plenty of options to do sportive activities or excursions, from Vienna to Klagenfurt, Lake Bled or Ljubljana. You can book them directly with the hotel. My daughter and I for example went one day to Slovenia that is only an hour away by car. VIVAMAYR packed us our lunch so that we didn’t mess up our strict diet. We had such a great time in Austria and will be back for sure this fall. Below you can find some more treatments that you shouldn’t miss…
I always made fun of my girlfriends who attend like pilgrims their respective cure at least once a year. Not anymore. I am a VIVAMAYRista now, too!
So interesting: the bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a commonly used method for estimating body composition, in particular body fat and muscle mass.
Don’t miss a bath in the Hydroxeur – this hydromassage bathtub with chromotherapy lamps is very relaxing.
Several treatments are designed to support the detoxifying process in your body, such as the full body mud wrap or the electrolysis footbath.
My highlight: a QMS Oxygen Facial that was sensational.
Photos in cover collage and of Karlie Kloss: Courtesy of VIVAMAYR Maria Wörth and © Vogue UK / Mario Testino, all other photos: © Sandra Bauknecht