Doing the mountain detox

Vivien Lash takmountaines the cure in the Wagnerian environs of Austria’s Altaussee

Call me weird, but I love a detox-diet. And where better to shrink than the new medical hotel Viva Modern Mayr in Altaussee, Austria? You go in fat and come out flat. It doesn’t get more idyllic than that.

No alcohol, sugar, or calls from Maddie until next week is easy, but I was worried about withdrawing from high heels, espresso, and Mr. Lash. At least stressing that I might be the fattest one there made me puke up enough calories to go down a dress size before I’d even started the prep work of cleansing my colon. Retoxing with pig on pitta at the airport, instead of my usual breakfast of watermelon juice, was my tiny act of diet evil before taking The Cure.

Mr. Lash doesn’t understand why I can’t starve at home, while Enery, my driver, offered to lock me in his garden shed until I’ve misplaced a few kilos. Imagine my ecstasy when I arrived at Mayr to find a bloody filet steak waiting for me instead of the glass of milk that’s on the menu at the hardcore rival clinic across the Alps.

Chew-chew-chewing, and no talking while you’re at it, is the philosophy behind what started as a digestion and defecation joint. Since then it’s mutated into a little piece of paradise at the hands of Dr. Sepp and his team of Bond girls in white jeans instead of white coats. “I was bloated and I had the haemorrhoids,” Dr. Sepp said smiling enough to hurt his face. “I needed a cure!” So he reinvented one for all of us. “The aim is for your soft stools to slide out.”

Talking the brown stuff

“In the mountains, there you feel free,” T. S. Eliot said back before alkaline diets were invented. Indeed my room with a mountain view is more trank than Valium. I would have been happy to laze on my terrace, playing with the remote control for my toilets and breathing in the air that Freud, Goebbels, and James Bond have already got high on. But at the crack of dawn every day — 9 am to you — I had an appointment in the medical zone, a white, bright place devoted to treating the brown stuff.

“How was it today?” Nordic blonde Dr. Ingrid asks. How would I know? I don’t look at my jobbie, let alone talk to it. “Any odor?” Of course not! The worst my shite ever smells is Chanel No 5.

The average corpse has 20 pounds of impacted waste in the colon (John Wayne had 40), but not if you’ve downed bottles of salty water instead of martinis. The salt is from the local mines where Nazi art treasures were hidden during the war. The good news is that I can swallow a litre of salty water any time, day or night!

Being weighed gives me a panic attack, which isn’t always a bad thing. “Mountains don’t judge,” my doctor said as I stepped on the scales with my eyes shut, the glacier watching me through the glass wall. Kinesiology, a technique for testing muscles, measures my reactions to the various substances I brought with me. My diet pill, Taurine, got the finger from Dr. Ingrid, but she told me that the man who invented Red Bull lives on the lake. The red drink contains enough Taurine to stop me eating for the rest of my life, but worrying if I can still fit into my size-2 dresses has the same effect.

No one admitted out loud that they’d gone to the clinic to lose weight except a fat Russian who had tea for every meal before farting in the elevator. The rest of us were getting at least ten calories per meal, apart from a skinny girl who boasted about having parasites. She counted her pills and potions with orgasmic glee between mouthfuls of baby food. “The really fat ones don’t eat in the restaurant,” a thinster who has been ‘cured’ four times told me.

After blood and urine tests, and enough pressing on my stomach to make sure there’s no rancid gas trying to hide in my small intestine, Dr. Ingrid confirmed there’s nothing wrong with my bum.

A welcome break from bums

Thrilled to have a break from bums, she went to work on my Beijing lungs with the help of an oxygen machine and a man-sized mask on my big nose. Surely the mountain air is pure enough? But I trusted the beatific Ingrid, who probs had operas written about her. “This stuff’s better than drugs,” she whispered as I drifted away to Planet Lash. After my first hit I was hooked and now had to add hypoxia training to my already busy treatment schedule. I also said yes to daily massage, but no to nasal reflexology. If I were going to abuse my nose, it wouldn’t be by shoving a cotton bud up it.

“Today we will concentrate on the backside,” Jan the masseur — also known as Mr. Knickers Off — told me, adding, “Arms are for hugging trees and dancing.” I’d like to walk round the lake to where Mr. Red Bull has his cabin, stopping now and again to get physical with a tree, but it was time for a mud bath with a blonde smoky enough to kill the spa. Heidi wrapped me in plastic wrap and lowered me into the mud, saying bye-bye with an evil cackle and leaving me to wonder if I’ll ever be unwrapped.

It’s not a competition so long as Vivvy wins, and I lost a kilo more than everyone else. That’s despite being allowed to eat chicken for dinner when I refused to do an Oliver and said no to more gruel.

The rock chicks go green

My new diet caused some grenvy with two rock chicks, former burds of Mick Jagger and Brian Jones (and they had the pictures to prove it). Chick Jones looked like she hasn’t eaten since the 1960s and Chick Mick hadn’t brushed her hair since Woodstock, allowing it to roam free until it resembled a magnificent block of weed.

Children of alcoholics don’t get hangovers — thanks, Dad! — nor did my kiss-friendly mouth need an oil swill every morning. Lucky Viv didn’t even get the famous caffeine withdrawal headache. But the sum of the vices is constant and as soon as I escaped, clean and serene inside and out, I downed a double espresso at the airport.

The only complaint I have about the Mayr clinic is that chewing every mouthful 40 times is so boring that I could hardly be bothered finishing my delicious food. Modern Mayr is a life-changing experience and everyone’s life is different. Planet Lash is about letting the happiness in along with the oxygen and vodka martinis.

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