Whenever a celebrity drops a few kilos, our ears perk up. After recent weight loss snaps featuring a 20kg lighter Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson, it’s the Mayr Method that we’re all desperate to know more about.
So what is this diet, why has it been so successful for Rebel, and can we take any tips from it as many of us seek to lose weight ahead of summer?
What is the Mayr Method?
The Mayr Method was developed by an Austrian doctor more than 100 years ago and is based on the premise that people ‘poison’ their digestive systems with the foods they eat and the lifestyle choices they make.
Here, a therapeutic approach in which the digestive system is cleansed, psychological blocks are identified and managed, and mindfulness training supports people in making lifestyle changes that support weight control in the long-term.
Earlier this year, Aussie actress Rebel Wilson proclaimed 2020 to be her “year of health,” giving a special shout-out to the Vivamayr wellness retreat in which the Mayr program originates.
“When the borders re-open and we can travel to our favourite places — I can’t wait to go back to @vivamayraltaussee in Austria and continue my health journey! I would walk around this lake every day there,” she captioned a snap of her against a mountainous backdrop.
Rebel isn’t the only A-lister to follow the program — everyone from Karlie Kloss and Suki Waterhouse to Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne are reportedly fans.
In fact the Mayr Method’s HQ mentioned in Rebel’s post — the five-star Mayr Clinic overlooking Lake Worthersee in Austria — is arguably more famous than the program itself. The popular day spa lets its devotees embark on a medical regime in a luxurious and idyllic setting, with prices starting at around $2555 for a seven-day treatment plan. Those keen to also stay at the resort will fork out an additional $362 to $1071 per night.
How does it work?
The initial phase of the program encourages a fasting regime to help cleanse the digestive system, before following a diet in which snacking is banned, dairy and gluten intake is limited, raw foods avoided after 4pm, and breakfast is a focus with the option of skipping breakfast.
The other significant focus of the Mayr approach is mindful eating. Here, followers are encouraged to refrain from reading, watching TV, using phones or even chatting to others when enjoying a meal. It’s argued that mindful eating helps individuals to eat more slowly, be more attune to their hunger and fullness signals and eat less all overall. It’s also suggested that each mouthful of food be chewed at least 40 times (this is a lot), again supporting eating awareness, further slowing food intake and reducing calorie intake.
The standout feature of the Mayr Method is that, unlike many of the diets doing the rounds, there’s nothing groundbreaking. It is not suggesting extreme calorie restriction, nor elimination of a large number of foods, but rather fairly basic suggestions including eliminating mindless snacking, eating when not distracted, as well as exercising regularly. These strategies have been shown over many years to support slow but sustainable weight loss. Indeed these are the gradually but significant results Rebel too is demonstrating on a regular basis via her own social media channels.
READ MORE: 5 signs you may benefit from fasting
While the kidneys and the liver are more than capable of cleansing the digestive system, the clinic where the Mayr Method is championed guides participants through a ‘detox’ or strict period of time without added sugars, alcohol or caffeine, creating a safe and comfy environment to the withdrawal that can occur when these stimulatory foods are suddenly eliminated. Often people also lose a few kilos and emerge feeling lighter, more energised and better overall, which in turn can help support behavioural change in the long-term.
The same can be said for regimes that claim alkaline foods, dairy and gluten are the issue; this is not true, but rather shifting to fresh, whole unprocessed foods such as fish, fruits and veggies creates a diet that’s relatively easy to follow and one that’s low in carbs and calories, again supporting weight loss.
Most importantly, the Mayr systems include plenty of exercise. Not only does exercise result in increases in metabolic rate but it helps to improve digestion, appetite control and stress management — all variables associated directly and indirectly with weight control over time.
A dietitian’s verdict on the Mayr Method
When a new celebrity diet emerges, inevitably it’s open season for critics, with the typical concerns being around strictness and the lack of scientific evidence to support its use. While the Mayr Method doesn’t have evidence to show that there’s anything specifically related to the program that supports weight loss, in general the principles it supports are reasonable — eating less processed foods, cutting mindless snacking, eating more slowly and exercising.
While Rebel may have the resources to visit the clinic and immerse herself in the program, the good news is you too can adopt these suggestions and reap the potential weight loss benefits. The only word of warning is to not cut out whole food groups such as dairy before consulting with your own dietitian.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.