Ever since she's declared 2020 her "Year of Health," Rebel Wilson is opening up about how hard she's working on her goals in frequent workouts, training sessions, and of course, in a brand new diet. The Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect star says she's trying to lose 75 kilograms, about 165 pounds, by the end of the year: "Even if you have to crawl towards your goals, keep going [and] it will be worth it,” she shared on Instagram.
The 40-year-old Australian actor and comedian reportedly found her inspiration for her new health journey after visiting a well-known wellness center in Austria. According to People, Rebel's 2020 goals stem from a trip to VivaMayr with pal and TV host Carly Steel in 2019 — where she saw "amazing results" based on the center's plan. What kind of treatment did she encounter there, you might ask? As shared in a personal review published in Grazia, Viva Mayr helps guests through a signature detox that involves certain spa treatments, mental health sessions, and a thorough diet and fitness revamp.
A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson) on May 25, 2020 at 5:27pm PDT
Not everyone can jet off for a stay in a medical center in Austria or locations in London, Mumbai, Istanbul, or Moscow for a consultation at the clinic (which costs around $211, according to The Guardian). But Viva Mayr's diet program specifically has been made popular by Harald Staussier, one of the clinic's founders, in a 14-day diet plan that's now known as the Mayr Method Diet, which promises to help you "revamp your health and feel years younger."
What Is the Mayr Method Diet?
Believe it or not, the Mayr Method has been around for more than a century, according to VivaMayr personnel — it's based on the "Mayr Cure" created by Franz Xaver Mayr, also known as F.X. Mayr. The basics of the program have to do with a "clean" gut, and a focus on eating foods that massage digestive systems. Maximilian Schubert, the medical director of VivaMayr, told NBC's Today that the Mayr diet has rarely changed over time: "The main idea behind this if people have a healthy gut system and healthy digestive system, then they are going to have a holistic approach of health," Schubert explained.
Usually, people are first introduced to this diet by visiting VivaMayr or one of its many wellness retreats around the world during a prolonged stay and a series of consultations. "VivaMayr combines modern complementary medicine with traditional diagnostics and therapies according to F.X. Mayr,” the VivaMayr website reads. “Once we have treated your condition, proper nutrition combined with exercise and improved mental awareness become the building blocks of your new life.”
Schubert told Today that the first recommendation made to many clients is to start a new fasting regimen: "In general, the first step is always a monotone and restricted diet, to really calm down the body system, food-wise," he said. In addition to adopting a short-term fast, the program will also include a prescribed cleanse, taking new or expanded vitamins, and supplements in what Schubert calls a "detoxification process." It's unclear which vitamins or supplements are used at clinics or Viva Mayr retreats, but there's a good chance that both have to do with aiming to lower the body's pH level based on the tenets of the alkaline diet.
According to our friends at Women's Health UK, in addition to establishing a fasting schedule, dieters will also refrain from eating sugar or drinking coffee (anything containing caffeine) and alcohol during the program. "Quite often, people will have some headaches and mood changes in the first three or four days — afterwards, they recover very well again," Schubert told Today.
Dieters are also asked to:
Stop snacking throughout the day as part of their fast.
Make breakfast part of the schedule, potentially dropping dinner.
Reduce dairy and gluten intake overall.
Refrain from eating raw foods at night after 4pm.
Refrain from using phones, talking, reading, or watching television while eating. The goal here is to get you to focus on the food you are eating and potentially feel satisfied or full sooner.
And most notably, to thoroughly chew their foods: The diet program asks that you chew each bite of your food at least 40 times.
What can you eat on the Mayr Method Diet?
While the suggestions above are made within the 14-day diet guide, there isn't clear restrictive guidelines for the diet program, and you may adapt the program over time: "It's perfectly acceptable to create your own meals rather than following suggested menu plans, although you may want to try them for a few days first, to get the hang of the way food is prepared at Viva Mayr," the meal plan's introduction reads.
Ultimately, the diet is often purported to be based on the basics of an alkaline diet, but Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, the Good Housekeeping Housekeeping Institute's registered dietitian, explains that the foods on the diet plan's shopping list aren't actually included in true alkaline-forward diets. "Many foods on this list, including polenta, risotto, meat, and dairy aren't normally allowed on an alkaline diet as they are thought to be 'acidic.'" It may not matter in the end though, Sassos explains, because the alkaline diet's benefits have to do with eating more vegetables, reducing sugar and processed foods intake, and drinking more water (all things you can do without prescribing to a diet!).
Here's a majority of the Mayr Method Diet shopping list as highlighted in the book's introduction:
Proteins: Trout fillet, smoked trout, skinless turkey breast, lamb loin, salmon fillets, smoked salmon, beef fillets, organic silken tofu, and char caviar.
Vegetables: Spinach, onions, radishes, celery, carrots, fennel, potatoes, kohlrabi, vine tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, broccoli, turnips, and chickpeas.
Fruits: Raisins, olives, apricots, prunes, apples, berries, pomegranates, oranges, citrus fruit, bananas, papaya, mangoes, avocados.
Grains: Ground oats, buckwheat flour (and other ingredients to make your own bread), corn flakes, millet, spelt flour, polenta, risotto rice.
Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, sesame seeds, amaranth seeds, and almonds.
Dairy: Organic eggs, butter, goat cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, cottage cheese, rice milk, oat milk.
Condiments and seasonings: Stevia, vegetable stock, rock salt, extra-virgin olive oil, cold-pressed oils (including linseed, hemp, and walnut), coconut oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, maple syrup, cider vinegar, cream of tartar, soya sauce.
Beverages: Green tea, pomegranate juice, and water.
The 14-day diet plan also comes with a prescribed meal plan and recipes to help you get started.
A post shared by Rebel Wilson (@rebelwilson) on Jul 12, 2020 at 7:28pm PDT
Is the Mayr Method Diet actually healthy?
Because most of the consultations happen at the clinic, Sassos says she's judging what's in the diet's book alone. Overall, the prescribed shopping list and meal plans in the book wouldn't be harmful, per se: "Would the foods on this list do you harm? No, I don't think so." Like every other diet, Sassos says you should enjoy everything on the Mayr diet's approved list in moderation — and you should also feel comfortable having prohibited items, like coffee, in moderation as well. "The quality of macronutrients matters in any food, but you could easily gain weight if you're eating an excessive amount of certain foods on this list that are very calorically dense, like cheese, butter, and polenta."
If you attempt the Mayr Method Diet at home, there are a few takeaways you should focus on above all else, including the suggestions to eat more mindfully at mealtimes. "Many of us rush our meals and don't chew our food enough, and chewing is important to ensure proper digestion and maximum absorption later on in our digestive tract," Sassos explains, adding that somewhere between 30-40 chews per mouthful is something you should aim for. "It takes about 20 minutes for your body to signal to your brain that it is full. If we are eating too quickly, we can easily overeat before our brain is able to register that we are full."
One thing you shouldn't try at home is finding supplements to mimic any clinic treatment. "If you see [any product] with cleanse or detox slapped on it, be suspicious and ask questions," Sassos says. "For gut health in particular, staying hydrated and incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha into your diet is ideal. I always say food first before reaching for a supplement or pill."
The bottom line: You should always consult your doctor before making a long term change to your diet, but most principles of the Mayr Diet shouldn't be harmful. Remember, any diet needs to be paired with exercise (Rebel is also working hard on her fitness routine, Women's Health reports) for healthy, long-term weight management. The best principle of the VivaMayr program may be to focus more at mealtime: "Take time to actually register what you are eating, savor the flavor, and properly digest your food," Sassos says. "It can also improve your relationship with food and enhance the enjoyment of mealtime."
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