Dietitian Melissa Meier puts a fine tooth comb over the eating plan that has helped Rebel Wilson get closer to her 2020 health goals. Offered at luxury day spa Viva Mayr in Austria, the ‘Mayr Method’ has some good, but also less than ideal points in our expert’s book…
Rebel Wilson has the world of weight loss on the edge of its seat with a new way of eating that’s supposedly helped her shed almost 20 kilos. In case you’re interested, it’s called the Mayr Method, and it’s offered at luxe wellness spa Viva Mayr in Austria (explains the pull, right?). Supposedly, it combines complementary medicine with nutrition and movement to help people become their healthiest selves.
Here’s what you need to know.
One of the main focuses of the Mayr Method is mindfulness, which I think is a very good thing. When it comes to food, mindfulness involves active participation in the experience of eating, rather than mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching TV while you shovel food from your plate into your mouth. It focuses on chewing slowly while paying attention not only to taste, but all of your senses, which allows you to become more in tune with your hunger and satiety cues. Ultimately, it can help you to avoid overeating while truly enjoying food without guilt.
The Viva Mayr website also hints at fasting, which has its perks. Intermittent fasting has been shown to help with weight loss (though rest assured, it’s no more effective than a standard calorie controlled diet). Plus, it’s been linked to metabolic health perks, protection from disease and even improved gut health – and while there’s still a lot to learn in this space, it’s a very promising area of nutrition research.
Based on the limited, ambiguous information on the internet, that’s about where the good news stops, and the reg flags start. A highlights reel on the Viva Mayr website explains that when you arrive at the spa, you’re provided with a personalised food plan from a doctor, which really grinds my gears. In case you’re not aware, dietitians are the experts in the world of food – not doctors. Got it? Good.
At the spa, you’re recommended to eat the same foods over and over again, which apparently ‘aids healing’ (whatever that means) and teaches your bowels to work more efficiently (again, whatever that means) – and I call BS. As a dietitian, I’d recommended you eat a diet as wide and varied as possible, in order to meet your nutritional needs and maintain enjoyment around food. Your bowels should function perfectly well on their own with the help of a healthy diet and enough movement, and if not, it’s time to head to a gastroenterologist.
The video also explains the use of muscle testing to identify food intolerances, but again, this is not the gold standard. In fact, the only way to truly identify food intolerances is via the elimination diet protocol under the guidance of a qualified dietitian. There’s also a lot of talk around detoxification, which is simply unnecessary. Have you heard of your liver and kidneys? Their job is to rid your body of harmful toxins – and they don’t need a hand from fancy foods, trendy regimes and supplements, period.
Reports also suggest the Mayr Method involves shunning gluten, dairy, sugar and caffeine, and if that’s true, it’s another bone of contention for me. Why? One, there is simply no benefit to avoiding gluten unless you have a medical need to do so. Two, dairy is incredibly nutrient-dense, offering not only bone-strengthening calcium but also hunger-busting protein and vitamin B12 for healthy blood. Three, sugar is not the devil, especially if it’s naturally occurring. And four, while too much caffeine isn’t good for you, a little bit in the form of a daily cup of Joe is perfectly fine in my books. Last but not least, there is also a book titled ‘The Viva Mayr Diet’, which promises attempting quick fix. A flatter stomach in 14 days, a beach babe body, a younger you – if that doesn’t scream fad diet, I don’t know what does!
As a general rule of thumb, I don’t recommend splashing your cash on exy wellness trends –and the Mayr Method at Viva Mayr appears to have all of the hallmarks of just that. I might be biased, but I think the best way to diet is to not actually diet at all and instead, spend your hard-earned dollars on a qualified dietitian who can guide you on the right nutritional path for you as an individual in an evidence-based way.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her at Honest Nutrition or on Instagram.