The Mayr Method: What You Need to Know About This Weight-Loss Diet

The Mayr Method may be the secret weight-loss weapon for some, including Rebel Wilson—but is it healthy? 

There are all kinds of fad diets out there, including ones that claim they are simply a healthy lifestyle. One that has created some buzz due to Rebel Wilson singing its praises (and offering a testimonial on the program's website) is the Mayr Method, created by Austrian physician, Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, nearly 100 years ago.

What Is the Mayr Method Diet?

Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr reportedly believed that everything is connected to the gut, and what we eat (or don't eat) can affect our overall health and well-being.

While we can certainly get behind a healthy, gut-centric meal plan, there are some other practices of the Mayr Method that seem a little restrictive—or just plain strange. And the full, "medical health resort" experience does not come cheap. Most people looking to follow the program spend a week or so at a VivaMayr center (there are three locations in Austria and one in London), which will cost several thousands of dollars between the program, flights and accommodations. Those looking to save money could try to follow the plan by buying the book on Amazon instead.

While the diet may not restrict calories, there are a few key habits Mayr Method dieters practice, like eating slowly; stopping eating when they're satisfied; drinking between meals (but not with meals); eating their biggest meal at breakfast, a smaller meal at lunch and their smallest meal at dinner; and no eating raw foods after 3 p.m.

Additionally, according to the VivaMayr website, detoxing and fasting seem to be central themes within this plan (side note, we don't recommend either). The website also outlines the framework of its program to include: a personalized health concept, modern Mayr medicine, medical innovation and lifelong support (you can check back in with their health care providers in person or via telemedicine).

There are several programs you can choose from, including their "classic" program, weight care program, active detox program and stress control program. Regardless of which program you choose, you'll receive personalized recommendations and therapies based on your medical assessments. If you're wondering what those therapies could look like, here's a glimpse: Services at VIVAMAYR range from widely practiced wellness rituals (think: massage, yoga and acupuncture) to somewhat disturbing services like bloodletting, liver wraps, colon hydrotherapy and a $230 service called "Emotional Detoxification with Psychological Consultation."

It's important to note that many of these alternative therapies are not backed up by sound scientific research proving their efficacy or safety.

Is the Mayr Method Diet Healthy?

While we're all about eating gut-healthy foods and eating intuitively, we don't think you need to practice disordered eating behaviors (like counting your bites of food or not drinking water at mealtime) to do so. Simply eating your food at a table without distractions will suffice.

Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD, says, "Any diet that has lots of rules and puts restrictions on what, when and how much you eat raises major red flags. Diets like this are hard to follow, so when someone eventually stops, they tend to gain some or all of the weight back that they lost. Rebel would be much better off with something like the Mediterranean diet, which is backed by research and is easy to follow for life."

Additionally, some of the medical services practiced at VIVAMAYR's resorts are concerning. We firmly believe you can achieve a healthy lifestyle and weight without resorting to extreme and dangerous practices such as bloodletting. Balance and moderation is almost always the key to a healthier lifestyle.

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