Earlier this year, I had a ‘pinch myself’ moment. No, I wasn’t about to meet Lisa Marie Presley or finally buy a Kelly bag by Hermes (the. dream.), but rather I was heading to a clinic well-known for two things: fasting and induced diarrhoea. And I had hoped to go for my entire adult life.
I am well aware that this makes me unusual, and that most who’ve been to the Mayr Clinic admit to feeling more than a little trepidation on first visiting, only to decide on leaving that it’s the fountain of good health and that they couldn’t possibly continue to trade stocks/give speeches/design clothes (illustrious bunch, the Mayr clientele is) without an annual visit.
If I was excited on arriving at the Mayr’s newest outpost in Altaussee, I was evangelistic on departing. During my week, I discovered that the reverence with which Lisa Eldridge, Juergen Teller, Teresa Tarmey, Kate Moss, Sadie Frost and, um, Michael Gove talk about the Mayr is more than well-deserved. I’ve joined their ranks, and will over the coming weeks be uploading a series of vlogs in which you can see my transformation from shattered to filled with vim and vigour.
So what actually happens there? You’ll have to watch the videos to see the minutiae, but here’s a little summary. The doctor-led Cure programme on which I embarked is uniquely equipped to take on – and reverse – the damage modern life wreaks on the body, and lasts a week. Through a series of gut massages, nasal passage therapies* and daily discussions with my doctor about my body’s weaknesses, I discovered two things. First, my body is standard issue. All that baloney I used to give myself about needing sugar to function was just that: utter baloney. My body ran on sugar because that’s what I gave it. Once I’d cut it out and recovered from the addiction, I felt much better.
The second discovery: I had the power to change the trajectory of my health simply by watching what I put in my mouth, adopting some healthy eating habits**, and by adding some movement. It is so blindingly obvious, and people had been advising me to do so my whole life, but nobody had ever showed me how. This is where the Mayr was most valuable for me. By restricting and controlling my food intake, the burden of (bad) choice was taken out my hands, and my (standard issue) body allowed to function at its optimum. It quickly responded. By day four, I felt perky. On day five, I was fizzing with energy.
It is five months since I left the Mayr, and I am still reaping the rewards of my week there mostly because their lessons have stuck fast. As a rule, I eat thrice daily with no snacks as instructed. I fast between meals. I chew as thoroughly as conversation permits. And I do all this because it works – no more indigestion, no mood slumps, no random periods of exhaustion. I also do it because in sticking to these, my weight has stabilised (and I have lost around a stone, which means I can now squeeze into my skinniest skinny jeans. This is agreeable.). This flies in the face of calorie-based diets: by focussing on nutrition and eating well, my body has recalibrated and shed fat steadily without having to reduce my calorie consumption in the slightest.
There is but one downside to the whole Mayr thing: it ain’t cheap. Depending on how many treatments you do, you’re looking at a spend of between £2,000 and £3,000 for the week. Personally, I’m with Moss and Eldridge et al on this one: this is THE place to go if your life leaves you frazzled and your body is showing signs of stress, and stumping up the cash is well worth it. Next time I go (and there will be a next time if I can rustle up enough spare change from tapping away on my laptop), I’ll board the plane with delicious anticipation for the smorgasbord of health that lies ahead.
* And more! Watch the vlogs to see it all in action.
** All to be outlined in a blog post this week.