Whisper the words ‘FX Mayr’ to just about anyone and be prepared for an onslaught of questions. Before I arrived I’d heard all sorts of horror stories, including that we’d be sharing bunk beds (not true!!), constant diarrhoea (partly true) and insane weight loss (true!). Part health spa, part hospital there really is nowhere else quite like The Original FX Mayr and whilst it’s hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it for yourself, I wanted to give a frank account of my stay there, so that if you’re thinking of booking – you’ll be prepared.
Read on for the warts and all story of my week on the regime.
Day 1 – Sunday
We’re collected from nearby Ljubljana airport in Slovenia and make the one hour drive across the border into Austria. I’ve been up since 4am to get my flight, so only managed to squeeze in a very un-Mayr cheese and tomato croissant from Pret. I daren’t tell them.
We arrive about lunchtime and I’m instantly lulled into a false sense of security when they serve me a bowl of soup (to be eaten with a tiny, tiny spoon) followed by veal with root vegetables. So far I’m not seeing what all the fuss is about. Sure portions are on the small side but this is going to be a piece of cake. (Well, definitely not cake).
After lunch I join a two hour hike through the forest (and see a very rare fire salamander!) getting back in time for ‘5 o’clock tea’ which is held outside. Each chair has a blanket, we’re surrounded by heaters and fairy lights and not only do we get a cup of herbal tea, there are two, TWO piping hot chestnuts. I expend more energy peeling them than I do from the hike but they are utterly delicious.
‘Dinner’ is a very small bowl of white courgette soup, which we’re instructed to eat in silence. My American friend that I share a table with ignores this rule completely for the duration of my stay. Meditation makes us all suitably sleepy before lights out and I retire to my comfortable but simple room. Day One – DONE.
Day 2 – Monday
This is the first proper day of the cure – and starts with me meeting my doctor. But before any of that happens there’s still a lot to fit in.
My alarm goes off at 7am – I’m shattered but thankfully, not hungry. Blearily eyed I have my first go at ‘swishing’. For the uninitiated, oil swishing is a practice going back thousands of years, and is supposed to help you detox and support your immune system. We’re told that overnight a lot of toxins gather in the mouth but thankfully the FX Mayr help us get rid of them with branded capsules of coconut oil, which taste pleasant enough. You just swish it about a bit (ideally for 5-10 mins, I lasted two and a half) before spitting it out and rinsing your mouth and brushing your teeth. Then I need to take my magnesium salty water – grim. It never dissolves properly so I think I’m probably doing something wrong. Must remember to follow up with my potassium & magnesium capsule which I take after breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.
Morning stretches happen next, followed by breakfast. Today I’m allowed a bowl of sheep’s yoghurt with a single blackberry (to be eaten with tiny, tiny spoon again) alongside one of the infamous bread rolls which mercifully actually does need chewing 30 times. The chewing is important because it activates the digestive enzymes in the saliva. I manage to eek this out for about 20 mins.
Quick change into my dressing gown and off to the Kneipp area. Here I’m instructed to sink both feet into a lovely hot bowl of water for 5 minutes, then when the timer goes off, it’s 10 seconds in cold. Repeat. Apparently this is good for circulation.
My first doctor’s appointment! We talk about bowel movements A LOT. Pretty much everyone is prescribed the dreaded Epsom salts which taste like shit and make you do the same almost instantly and constantly. I’m pretty regular in fact, so am spared that. Instead I am prescribed a mild cure salt for the first couple of days to ‘clean things out’. On top of that I am ordered to drink 2.5 litres of water a day (which can be made up of the infamous vegetable bouillon and herbal teas), along with my alkali powder. We talk about what I want to get out of the experience (alive!) and he prescribes me a completely personal therapy plan for my stay. It was actually incredible to have so much time giving me the once over. My weight is taken 63kgs (9st 9lbs) and he gives my tummy a little check. All seems in order.
From here I’m whisked into the lab for my acid alkaline test which means taking blood. Thankfully the super gentle nurses help, as do the views over the Austrian lake. Whilst they’re in there they decide I should be given a drip filled with minerals, to help me out.
I attend a brief lecture on the Mayr Nutrition principles which are as follows:
Rest – We’ll be giving our gut a rest, there’s no raw food at The Original FX Mayr as it’s harder to digest. We’ll also be resting our liver – no alcohol or coffee.
Cleanse – Whichever salt we’re prescribed will cleanse the colon which is a good prevention of colon cancer. Ideally we want our poo to be yellow, as this indicates the bile is coming out. Our lungs need a good cleanse as well, this will come from the daily hikes taken in the pure Austrian air. The steam rooms are also good for this. The 2.5 litres of water we’ll be drinking a day will cleanse the kidneys.
Training – By chewing each bite 30 times we will relearn how to eat. From now on eating needs to be slow and mindful. There are absolutely no snacks and very strict meal times, as it’s important to get used to both for when we return to the outside world.
Rhythm – We’re encouraged to go to bed when it’s dark (which is really pretty early in October!). However we’re warned we might not sleep as well as we do at home, because the liver is active between 1-3am and whilst you’re detoxing, it’s going to be pretty lively.
I’ve had a mild headache pretty much all day and feel terrible. Lunch (more soup!) doesn’t touch the sides, and dinner is more soup. I’m very irritable, can’t really do any work and feel very sorry for myself. Go to bed early, straight after meditation.
Day 3 – Tuesday
I miss the morning exercise today because I take too long drinking all the tablets, swishing, and trying my mild salts. Get the shits pretty soon afterwards so think they are strong enough for me. I wake up feeling pretty damn great though, although that may be because I’m allowed a single egg at breakfast to accompany the yoghurt and roll. Woohoo! I have to wolf it down though because I’m late for my first appointment – 8am salt therapy.
This is one of the FX Mayr’s signature treatments. Using salt from the Dead Sea (rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium and bromine) they blend this with cold-pressed almond oil and scrub me from top to toe. It smells so tasty I have to really stop myself from licking it off at the end. The idea of the treatment is that it cleanses the skin, opening pores and stimulates blood circulation. I leave softer than a babies bottom. Fit in a quick Kneipp session on the way out.
Exercise Therapy Analysis
A quick change into my gym kit because I have my exercise therapy analysis. Nikolai asks me to do some simple things like touch my toes, a sit up, a press up, and concludes I’m pretty healthy. A lot of the people here are a bit older so with them he’d be able to provide a bit more guidance and one on one classes are also available. Instead he gives me a HIIT routine that I can do back at home.
My next appointment is with Dr Stock. He checks my tummy and it gurgles back – ‘Mayr music’ I’m told. He asks how I’m feeling and if I’m coping with the reduced calories, offering to up it if need be. I agree to another day exclusively on the soup. I’m really excited for what comes next – my Kinesiology test! This is where I find out if I’m intolerant to anything. I’m almost certain I am (ice-cream goes straight through me – sorry if that’s TMI) so we get to work. I lay back on the bed, whilst the Dr sprinkles unknown powders on my tongue. He then tests my muscle function to see if any make me weaker. According to the test I’m not severely intolerant to anything – not wheat, gluten, cows protein, coffee, histamine (which is in lots of things like canned goods and red wine!) – I get the all clear but am reminded to eat everything in moderation.
Hay Flower Detox Wrap
Back in my room Sabrina arrives with my hay flower detox wrap. I’m instructed to lay on the bed whilst she tucks a warm bundle next to my liver and wraps me up. After 20 mins I’m to get up and discard it – and then she goes. A bit like a nicer smelling hot water bottle, it’s lovely having a dedicated time to just relax and read my book.
Finally it’s lunch time and I’m permitted a ‘spread’ to go with my soup. Hurrah.
At the FX Mayr clinic they offer ‘Cure’ coaching – and I’m given a quick 15 mins with the psychologist to see if I feel I need to work on anything. It’s not cheap but I think this would be a real support to those that arrive with a lot of mental baggage.
I’m pretty hungry again but thankfully the headache has gone. I skip down to 5 o’clock tea in anticipation of my hot chestnut, only to be told they only have them on Sundays. Gutted. Wolf down my carrot soup and feel a bit grumpy again. Only another 14 hours to go until my next meal. Go to meditation and try to stop my mind thinking about food the whole time. Can’t say I’m successful.
Day 4 – Wednesday
I was awake loads last night as my back (or is it my kidneys??) are killing me. Have to hand in my urine sample today so manage to wee over my hand at 6am. Not the best start to the day. Swish, pop the pills, drink the salts. I head straight to exercise class where I notice I’m sweating more than I normally would with this gentle exercise. I think the lack of calories is getting to me. However at breakfast when I’m given a small piece of smoked trout alongside the yoghurt and roll, I struggle to finish it. Thankfully the American lady sitting opposite me is starving and snatches it off my plate as I get up to leave. Have to get up halfway through to go to the bathroom – proving the salts are still very much working.
Electrolytic Foot Bath
My first appointment of the day is an electrolytic foot bath. It looks a lot like I’m about to get a pedicure but instead the water turns brown thanks to the chemical reaction of the ions (not a result of how many toxins are trying to escape). I’m told it’s helping the detoxing process and making me more alkaline.
Another hay flower detox wrap and then a medical check-up with abdominal treatment. My blood test results show how far away from alkaline I am (not far but no cigar). I’m told this is transient and something I could definitely achieve. Eating a balanced diet and trying to keep stress under control will help me on my quest. I can’t help but think they took that blood shortly after I got here (when the night before I’d had one too many bottles of wine), so reckon I’d already see an improvement. The Doc’s not happy with my tummy though, detecting bloating (must have been all that trout). Within seconds I’m given a tub of enzyme capsules to have before breakfast and dinner which should help. She also asks if I’m taking enough time over my food and I explain about the chatty American. 10 seconds later, I walk into the restaurant, the waiter greets me and tells me I have been moved to a table of my own. Even better, I’m allowed a proper meal today so on top of the soup, I’m also permitted a miniscule tomato and courgette course followed by a beautifully presented grilled lobster tail with sweet potato mash, broccoli and parsley foam. When they do feed you, it’s really bloody good. Although I do notice that some people got two tails. You can’t help enviously spying each other’s portions. Manage to make that last a full 30 mins.
Quite fancied the hike today but it would mean being late for my next appointment so take myself on an hour long walk around the lake, trusty water bottle in hand. It’s a great time for reflexion, resolving to watch portion size and cutting back on booze when I get back. Although surprisingly I really haven’t thought about wine at all since I’ve got here. I walk past a restaurant and manage to avoid temptation (although I also forgot my card which helps).
This was unlike any other massage I’ve had before. My doctor very gently twisted, turned, pushed and pulled my body in different directions – a little like wringing out a cloth. Super relaxing despite it being so gentle, I felt like everything went back in the right place. It finished with a gong before he left the room, leaving me to get up in my own time. I realised my back pain had disappeared.
Dinner – more soup…..BUT……
Tonight is the first night I bother to get ‘dressed for dinner’ read: chuck a jumpsuit on and some makeup!! And that’s because we have a very exciting activity ahead.
We get shown how to make a few simple dishes in the test kitchen so we can continue the healthy eating at home. Pumpkin and sweet potato soup with mini bread roll, a pumpkin risotto which uses fennel as the base instead of onion (because it’s easier to digest) and pumpkin and sheep’s curd spread. They REALLY like pumpkin here. We get to try mini tasters of everything which makes us all go slightly giddy. People keep asking questions like; “what’s the BEST oil to use” and I’m impressed by the no nonsense advice we get back. Nothing is bad. If you can tolerate it you can eat it. It comes back to quantity – portion size and how frequently you’re eating something. We vow to do a ‘Come dine with me FX Mayr special’ on our return.
Day 5 – Thursday
Swish – pills – potassium & magnesium drink. Exercise class.
This is the second one since I’ve been here yet when I mention my continued back ache Bernard has a quick think and comes up with something completely different. It’s tough going but I leave with no back ache. It’s like he can see into my body.
Introduction to the Mayr Diet
As much as I’d love to tell you the Mayr nutritionist advises us to only eat bananas on a Tuesday during full moon, the advice is a hell of a lot more sensible than that. Everyone here understands that in the real world these diets aren’t sustainable, nor should they be. The cure is advised for 21 days, and thereafter you’ll have learnt about portion control, eating more mindfully, and eating less in the evenings.
Whilst at the Mayr there are four levels of diet. Firstly there’s the dreaded tea fasting where you literally just drink tea (sometimes with a little honey for energy) – thankfully I didn’t have to do this. After that there’s the 300-400 level where you’re given sheep’s yoghurt and the stale, gluten free buckwheat roll for breakfast, followed by veg soup for lunch and veg bouillon for dinner. I did this for a few days, and was pretty cranky around 4pm. After that you’re given a little something extra at breakfast, sometimes an egg, sometimes a spread. After that there’s the Mild Cleansing Diet which is ideal for transitioning into real life and is what I’m currently on. The main difference being you get a real meal (albeit, still small) at lunchtime. This clocks in at about 600-800 calories in total, so still much less than we’re used to in the outside world. Generally this will be plant-based and therefore alkaline, but we also receive fish twice a week and meat once a week, both of which are acid forming. The straight talking nutritionist is quick to point out that that doesn’t necessarily make these foods ‘bad’, in fact they can be very good for us thanks to the protein, etc, but should be consumed in moderation. When we do eat meat we should make it a lean piece of game for example, rather than a chicken breast pumped full of antibiotics. The reason for the very low calorie dinner (about 50 cals max) is that it allows us to fast from lunch through to breakfast. We’re also supposed to be avoiding raw food after 4pm because it’s hard for our gut to digest. Can’t really argue with any of that – it’s what we all know, just struggle to put into practise when temptation strikes!
Aqua Fitness & Sauna
Surprisingly difficult! Moving my legs underwater with a weight attached was a lot harder than expected – but my own private sauna afterwards was a nice treat. There are communal saunas too – but they are mixed and you’re expected to go naked. Yikes!
I meet the lovely Dr Stock again for a medical check-up. He tells me my urine test shows I’m burning fat fast (level 3 out of 4) so that’s good news! He gives me another abdominal massage feeling things before I do. I’m sure he has x-ray eyes.
Post Cure Behaviour
After dinner we all attend a lecture which explains how we survive out in the big wide world. As I’ve said before, the advice is pretty simple and nothing we’ve not heard before. As long as you’re not intolerant, a morning cup of coffee won’t kill you, try to have a larger meal at lunch and make sure it’s warmed and cooked and nothing raw after 4pm – it’s just too difficult to digest. And there you were thinking you were being ‘good’ ordering the salad. We’re to continue the mindful eating which will help us stop before we’re too full and one diet day a week is suggested, where we skip dinner, mimicking the fasting process we’ve been doing here. Something I’m going to try hard to follow is only eating meat or fish 2-3 times a week.
Side note: I feel AMAZING. Full of energy, positive, energetic.
Day 6 – Friday
I’m waking up at 6am on the dot, full of energy. Oil swish (managed 7 mins today!!), pill popping, alkaline drinking, exercise class done.
After breakfast one of my favourite people I’ve met grabs me and tells me she just shit herself on her friends balcony the day before. The three of us couldn’t stop laughing – not ideal in a supposedly silent restaurant. Retreat to my room in fits of giggles. I end the week with a relaxing facial (although I’ve noticed my skin is really glowing), a detox bath and a buckwheat pizza which feels wildly exciting. I have enough energy for a final hike with the rest of the gang.
Day 7 – The Verdict
Having the undivided attention of a whole team of doctors for an entire week was without doubt – amazing. Absolutely nothing was too much trouble, every question and worry was answered patiently and thoroughly.
I met all sorts of people during my stay. The very overweight who clearly needed to shift a few pounds, but also the perfectly healthy but very anxious that clearly needed some time with the Cure Coach. There were also pairs of ladies treating this as (one) of their holidays – and if you have the money, why wouldn’t you give yourself a yearly MOT, especially if you’re feeling a bit ropey. It really does make a lot of sense and The Original FX Mayr clinic is undoubtedly the place to do it. They came from as far and wide as the UK, to Australia and just about everywhere in-between. We witnessed people kicking off because they didn’t believe they were getting enough food. Yet at the end of the week there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t proclaiming how amazing the experience had been.
From the housekeeping who folded my PJs up every day, to the tailor-made schedules, to the doctors who listened, to the restaurant waiting staff who greeted me by name each day, Austria is the only place I can imagine The Original FX Mayr clinic working because you need that perfect combination of straight-talking efficiency, coupled with absolutely no embarrassment when it comes to talking about bowel movements and the like. Yes, it’s hard, this is a severe detox – but we’d say it’s 100% worth going through if you want to see results.
Before arriving I had felt a little overweight, particularly around my middle. I’d been working out fairly regularly but wasn’t really seeing huge results and was at the heaviest I think I’d ever been. On the final day I weighed in 3.2kg lighter (7lbs). Half a stone of weight loss in seven days is to me, outstanding. I also lost a couple of cm around my waist and I felt considerably better, with a lot more energy. People kept complimenting me on how well I looked, with many noticing the weight loss from my chubby little cheeks. Hurrah!
But surely on my return I’d put it all back on again right? The doctor advised that if I wanted to continue with the cure I should try to stick to the following:
- No raw food after 4pm
- No carbs for dinner
- Try to have one day a week where I skip dinner
- Continue to chew food properly
It’s now been two and a half weeks back in London and I’ve actually LOST MORE WEIGHT. Only a couple of pounds but considering I’m out most nights reviewing restaurants, I feel incredibly pleased with this. I’ve tried my best to stick to portion sizes, realising I just didn’t need as much food as I was scoffing. I’m also trying to turn down the carbs at night ‘when I can’ – the first night back I reviewed a pita restaurant so that was pretty much unavoidable. I went round my friends for a cheese fondue on Saturday night and consumed more than my fair share of a bottle of red (she was breastfeeding to be fair) and yet still – here I am, losing more weight. Snacking has completely stopped, and I don’t miss my daily mince pie/slab of Panettone/dark chocolate bar at all.
There’s absolutely no way I personally could have replicated this at home – I would have given in at the first hunger pang. So if you’re looking to kick-start a healthier you, The Original FX Mayr clinic cannot be ignored. There’s a reason patients come back every year.
For more information visit: https://www.original-mayr.com/