This spring, the Chedi Andermatt has teamed up with the No. 1 weight-loss spa in France, Les Thermes de Brides-les-Bains, to create a revolutionary slimming and renewal program for guests of the exclusive Swiss property. Guests of the Chedi Andermatt who are looking for a life-changing experience to redefine their health and life quality will be able to choose between a seven- or 14-night bespoke program, which combines specialized spa treatments, a range of physical activities, and informative group workshops, as well as nutritional workshops and cooking classes led by dedicated dietitians and nutritionists.
The Daily Meal chatted with Nathalie Negro, head nutritionist for the Slimming Lifestyle Retreat, to learn more about the partnership, health trends, and what guests should expect from the experience.
The Daily Meal: What do you find most exciting about the partnership between The Chedi Andermatt and Les Thermes de Brides-les-Bains?
Nathalie Negro: For me, facing a new challenge is always exciting. We will welcome an international clientele with different eating behaviors and food habits. So we must create new workshops and adapt our advice to fit other cultures. It is really exciting. Furthermore, the Slimming Lifestyle Retreat is a unique opportunity to share our wealth of experience (in Brides-les-Bains, we have treated weight issues for over 35 years) with the Chedi. It is interesting and mutually rewarding to combine our expertise.
How did you initially get involved with the spa?
Health and well-being are increasingly valued and people are willing to travel for this, especially active affluent individuals living a hectic life. Our weight-loss method perfectly matches their needs by providing useful advice to change their habits in a sustainable way. Since we were willing to develop a high-end project abroad for this clientele, a partnership with the Chedi Andermatt was synergistic. This luxurious hotel, known as one of the most beautiful in Europe, offers outstanding facilities — including a world-class spa and excellent restaurants — and a relaxing natural environment in the Swiss Alps. The Chedi Andermatt estate is the perfect destination to help our guests focus on their goals and get revitalized. Furthermore, the Chedi Andermatt shares our opinion on the principles of a sustainable weight-loss program and was enthusiastic about implementing the Brides-les-Bains method for their clients. We decided to launch the Slimming Lifestyle Retreat this coming spring, which is the first step of our partnership.
How does this two-week Slimming Lifestyle Retreat in the Swiss Alps differ from other health retreats out there?
Like ours, health retreats often offer dietary meals, physical activity, and body treatments. But most of them are only focused on weight loss during the retreat and do not really emphasize changing life habits long term. What we are doing differently is that we consider the sources and factors of each individual’s challenges with weight (whether it’s related to excessive eating, lack of physical activity, or stress-related) and we provide the tools and means to change bad habits through education. Obviously, we also provide specific treatments, such as the Brides-les-Bains massage. Our treatments are regularly updated to take into account the new best practices.
Our physiotherapists are well trained to treat a whole range of aches, including weight-related aches. They have developed a deep understanding of our guests’ pathologies. This psychological approach remains quite rare and we are proud to say that is a special feature of the Brides-les-Bains method.
What is your personal favorite aspect of this program overall?
I really enjoy the workshops. We discuss about the different sources of weight gain, to find appropriate solutions. People express themselves, and these talks are enriching for everyone including myself. During these workshops, people can experiment with cooking, different kinds of breathing, and other solutions to control cravings.
During the retreat, guests will attend five workshops. At low-fat cooking, tasty cooking, the goal is to learn how to lighten recipes; this workshop is led by an executive chef and a dietician. During “How to Manage Eating Out in a Restaurant,” we teach the best practices to be observed when eating out in a restaurant, daily or on an exceptional basis. For “Be at Peace With Your Food,” people will understand their eating habits (nibbling, craving) and acquire some ideas as how to regulate their eating behavior. “How to Organize Your Meals Over the Day” teaches your day-to-day meals organization, which differs whether you are French, Egyptian, German, English, or American. Thus, it is important to know how you can balance your diet (for example if you have a big breakfast but a small lunch). You should know what kind of food you should avoid or choose first. Food sensation helps regulate eating behavior, you should be aware of food sensations: hunger, satiation, and satiety. We chose these workshops among the ones we offer in Brides-les-Bains and we elaborated new ones more appropriate for the active guests of the Chedi.
There has been a lot of focus on the health industry these days, why do you think nowadays people are valuing their health more than years prior?
Life expectancy is increasing (82 years in France and 79 years in the U.S.A.), but healthy life expectancy remains quite low (63 years in France). People are afraid about becoming dependent and a burden on their families and friends, so they want to reduce this risk by taking care of their health. Moreover, each country and culture has its own attitude towards food. For instance, in France and Italy, the relationship with food is more to do with pleasure and socializing. In the U.S.A. and other Anglo-Saxon countries or in Russia, people tend to think that a good meal is a “healthy meal.”
We noticed a discrepancy according to the gender: Women are much and more careful with their health than men. That explains why approximately 75 percent of our retreats’ attendees are women.
How do you work with the Chedi to develop your menus for the Slimming Lifestyle Retreat and what makes these menus unique?
I created the menu in cooperation with Sébastien Roux, the executive chef of the Golf Hotel’s restaurant in Brides-les-Bains. We used the same nutritional guidelines we usually do regarding quantity and quality. We adapted the menus to the technical possibilities of the Chedi’s kitchen and added some local ingredients. Then, Sebastien and I came to the Chedi to meet the hotel’s chef and present the menu. Our menus are unique thanks to our dietetic gastronomy guidelines (we are always looking for a fine line between nutrition and pleasure) and Sébastien’s experience in high-end cuisine.
What do you want for participants to ultimately gain from their experience here?
There are four essential objectives I want people to achieve. They will regain self-confidence and self-esteem; people who are overweight often think that their situation is a defeat, that they lack willpower. Of course, that is wrong; they must understand and accept it. We want to improve dietary habits once and for all so guests enjoy their meals every day and lose their cravings and nibbling habits. They will slim down and tone up the silhouette; they should find an enjoyable physical activity that can be continued at home. It is essential for their weight, their health, and their wellness. Moreover, I want our guests to reduce their weight at their own pace, to reach definitively a healthier level.
The Chedi Andermatt is located in Switzerland’s timeless village, Andermatt, in the scenic Urseren Valley. The Zurich Airport is the closest airport; the second closest is Malpensa in Milan.