Interview Amsterdam XXXL

Jimena Rico, publisher of Amsterdam XXXL, and columnist Claudia Schoemacher were able to detox for a week at Health Holidays in Portugal. This way they could experience what it is like to live on fruit and vegetable juice for a week. Although in the sunny Algarve, but still. When you say you are going to detox, you immediately frown. Not eating for a week? How! That is why we asked the manager of Health Holidays, Nicole van der Sligte, some questions.

Detox: live a week on only fruit and vegetable juice. How do you keep that up? Jimena Rico and Claudia Schoemacher were allowed to try it, in Portugal. In the sunny Algarve they spoke to Nicole van der Sligte, manager of Health Holidays.
Rob Ligthart ran his own travel agency for many years and ended up in hospital due to intestinal problems. He decided not only to improve his own health, but also that of his travelers. After extensive research he developed a juice treatment program in combination with sports and founded Health Holidays in 1985. Ten years ago, Nicole van der Sligte was looking for a new challenge and, shortly after Ligthart died, she was appointed as manager.
“Detoxing is hip nowadays, but in the 1980s it was strange and the target group looked different. It was mainly people who wanted to lose a lot of weight in a short time. Nowadays many more guests want to relax from the hectic life. The target group has shifted in that regard, although there are still guests coming who want to lose a few pounds and see detoxing as a means to get slimmer. ”

For you, however, the detoxification process is what it’s all about.
“Indeed, we see detoxification as a process to cleanse the body of waste products, which makes all organs function better again. This also has the consequence that people lose pounds. Most importantly, however, your body will function better, allowing people to get rid of certain medications and get more energy. After a detox vacation with us, they often make a real new start with healthy solid food and exercise in their daily lives. ”

My first detox was quite scary!
ʻWe get a lot of phone calls asking: can I keep it up well? Or; do many people quit after the first day? This never actually happens. You follow the program in a group and everyone comes for a reason and wants to complete the program as well as possible. Because all the necessary nutrients are present and there are no fibers in our juices, the digestion is, as it were, stopped and the juice cycle is easy to maintain. This means you do not suffer from hunger and you can also exercise three times a day. ”

What is nice is that the sport is not too difficult for you.
“Right, you can make it as hard as you want. Naturally, our guidance does encourage you to get out of your comfort zone. Our motto is: anything is allowed, nothing is obligated! People with a bad condition can participate in all exercises at their own level, they are well guided in this. In terms of type of exercise and intensity, the heavier days during the juicefast are taken into account, such as the third day, which is the most difficult for most guests. This allows all guests to maintain the sports program well. We advise people who want to exercise extra in addition to the three daily sports moments, to take extra juice, so that they get enough nutrients. ”

The big difference between how the guests enter and leave again is striking.
“Indeed, you see guests arriving who you think are entering their last steps. When they go home, they are almost completely different people. They are cheerful, good looking and literally and figuratively feel pounds lighter. As if they took off a heavy suit. ”

It must be very satisfying to see everyone leave so intensely satisfied?
“That’s why we work at Health Holidays. People have to want it themselves. It’s not that when you’re with us, you don’t have to do anything for it. You will only see results if you really follow the program. Because you are surrounded by people who do the same and sometimes have a hard time, you can keep up well with a little discipline and perseverance. ”

Friendships for life are also being made, I notice.
“Many people come alone, and then certain problems and pent-up emotions are expressed among themselves. Some people say: I’ve never discussed that with anyone, not even my best friend or husband! I also find it very special to see how some people create such bonds of trust. Friendships for life are indeed being made. ”

Which is also nice: you don’t have to think. Everything is done for you, so that you can relax.
“The people are in a sunny place, in a nice hotel and nice excursions are offered. This gives you the feeling that you are not locked up in a spa, but that you can leave and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. At home you have to cook for your family, you have all kinds of social obligations. Everything is indeed done for the guests; the juices are made, you will be taken everywhere, and some people really need it in these hectic times. They can relax completely and focus on themselves. ”

That slowing down is very healing.
Our resorts are arranged in such a way that people can retreat to a balcony or terrace to read a book and do their own thing. There is a lot of time for rest and relaxation in your own luxury room or outside in nature in a beautiful spot. There are sports and juice moments, but otherwise you are free in the afternoon and evening. The first three days are tough, but after that you will notice that you get more and more energy and you want to do fun activities as well. ”

You are a small family business, with very committed people.
“Yes, we also have a lot of regular guests and they see us as” family “. In the past ten years that I have worked here, I have had so many people on the phone, and you really bond with that. As a result, people enjoy seeing the same hostesses and sports counseling again. Some ladies are explicitly asked. This trust should be there, because the processing of emotions is also very important during a stay here.  So we also try to create a kind of family feeling, so that our guests end up in a warm bath. ”

In my opinion you have succeeded in that warm bath!
“It is also nice for new guests to hear that regular Health Holiday guests come here very often. That gives immediate confidence. Some newcomers sometimes find it scary, do not know what to expect and then see that many people come back. They hear the experiences of those regular guests and therefore know that they are in good hands. ”

It is evident how exhausted some people arrive.
Our society demands a lot of energy; you get so many stimuli in one day and nowadays it doesn’t stop in the evening either. Various studies have shown that burnout occurs more often and at an increasingly younger age. That’s because everything has to go faster and faster. You do not rest at almost any time of the day, and that is different with us. It is three times a day juices and three times a day sports, but there is also a lot of laughter. Many have never been on vacation alone. When I explain that almost all guests travel alone, that is also nice to hear. People all accept each other. Our experience is that the oldest participants get along best with the youngest and that age actually says nothing. That is very nice to see. Despite the different ages, cultures and backgrounds, people bond with each other. ”

You offer juice holidays in Turkey, Portugal and on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. Why is that?
“We do that consciously. Every destination offers variety. Guests visiting different destinations will notice that although the environment is different, the program always remains the same. In Fuerteventura, for example, you have beautiful beaches and a shopping center close to the hotel. Turkey offers an authentic culture and that is where our hotel is located directly by the sea. There is no sandy beach, but you only have to descend a few steps from your hotel room to jump straight into the sea. The Turkish village of Kaş has something fairytale like. Portugal is often chosen for the beautiful nature, the nice walks along the coast and the beautiful beaches that are so characteristic of the Algarve. Some guests have a certain preference, others alternate the destination. This means we offer an attractive destination for everyone. ”

There are juice treatments you can do at home or at the gym. What do you think of that?
“The essence of the juice treatments is that you detoxify the body. Still, people sometimes think they are juice fast as soon as they drink a smoothie. That is of course not the case, because your digestion continues as normal and it requires the most energy from the body. Some people make juices from the internet that don’t have a solid theory behind them. Because of this, you may not be doing the juice fast responsibly. You need certain nutrients and they must be in the juices. My advice is to always follow a juice treatment with a professional organization with good guidance. ”

All those annual visitors: it is the best advertisement you can have as a company.
“We are very happy with that, because it is indeed so. It is also the reason that we occasionally send journalists on a holiday, so that they can experience it for themselves and share their experience. I can tell in various advertisements how good our company is, but of course that does not say much. Word of mouth and positive reviews are therefore extremely important to us. And the only way to get it is to ensure that the price / quality ratio remains good and that the experience of our guests is above expectations. ”

You also insist on the importance of healthy food. A lot of information is given.
“Providing information about healthy food is essential for guests to be able to maintain the results achieved. I often get the question whether a juice treatment does not have a yo-yo effect. I always answer that it is necessary to make changes in your diet after the juice fast and keep moving. I regularly receive reactions from guests who have lost a lot of weight after the juice treatment and who can retain the energy obtained for a long time. Before and after the treatment we guide our guests with a schedule, so that they adjust their diet in the right way. I always say: try not to change your whole lifestyle at once, because that is not very realistic in our society and it is also very difficult to maintain. My advice: Adjust a few points, such as quitting smoking or caffeine, and starting the morning with fruit instead of bread. When you then tackle something every year, it remains achievable to keep on going and you end up with a very healthy lifestyle. ”

Do you want more information about the health trips that Health Holidays offers?
View the full program here!

January 17, 2019