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Celebrity weight loss is always making headlines, and the latest star is actress Rebel Wilson. Her recent happy photos showing off her 20-kilo weight loss have been plastered all over the internet, giving many of us inspiration to have another go too.
What is really interesting is that Wilson has been open about how she achieved her goal of losing weight and becoming healthier with exercise and the Mayr Method diet.
Founded almost 100 years ago by Austrian physician Dr Franz Xaver Mayr, the Mayr Method is an eating plan based on improving your ‘gut health’ by removing certain foods from your diet and using ‘mindful eating practices’ like chewing your food a certain number of times. Although the system originally was meant to be for 14 days only, as a kind of ‘kickstart’ to changing eating habits, now it is often used for longer periods for more substantial weight loss.
The Mayr Method Rules
On the original 14 day plan, the Mayr Method removes all sugar and caffeine, and limits dairy and gluten. You are meant to eat alkaline foods like apples, oranges, bananas, berries, pears, plums, broccoli, cabbage, kale, mushrooms, salmon, trout, tofu, turkey, lamb, oats, buckwheat, millet, polenta, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed, coconut oil, olive oil, water, green tea, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, cilantro and parsley.
On top of the list of foods, there are rules about how you should eat as well:
Eat the largest meal early in the day.
Stop eating as soon as you feel full.
Don’t drink water after meals; stop eating after 7pm.
Chew each bite of food 40-60 times before swallowing.
So, these are the foods and rules of the Mayr Method, but is it actually a healthy diet? According to Kim Bowman, a certified sports nutritionist, and two-time Olympic trials qualifier with a Masters of Science in Sports Nutrition, the Mayr Method is not “sustainable for the long-term. Those seeking to lose weight should instead take a more holistic approach to nutrition”.
“While we support mindful eating and consider gut health an important part of one’s overall health, those who follow the Mayr Method are often required to consume only 600 calories a day, cut out gluten and dairy, and follow many other rules and restrictions,” explains Ms Bowman.
“Instead of focusing solely on going into a calorie deficit, we recommend prioritising quality nutrient consumption by incorporating nutrient-dense whole foods and eliminating processed forms.”Kim Bowman
However, Ms Bowman says that some parts of the Mayr Method are positive, like “prioritising gut health and sticking to a mindful eating approach”.
“A healthy gut is necessary for minimising inflammation within the body as well as avoiding digestive disturbances (i.e., leaky gut), which have shown to impact our ability to lose weight negatively. I also support the concept of eliminating added sugar and processed foods as they are highly disruptive to gut health and are known contributors to inflammation within the body,” says Ms Bowman.
Like many diet plans, however, the Mayr Method is also highly restrictive in the number of calories allowed per day and the types of foods allowed, especially in removing dairy and gluten.
“Diets that encourage the elimination of food groups may create yo-yo style eating habits once the diet period has finished leading to weight regain or weight loss plateaus as a result. The Mayr Method also encourages the consumption of alkaline foods. However, there is currently little to no scientific research to support ‘alkaline food consumption for weight loss.
“The Mayr Method also encourages dieters to ‘count’ the number of times they chew their food which in my opinion is unnecessary for weight loss and may be of concern for those with a history of disordered eating.
“Rather than encouraging dietary restriction, my recommendation for weight loss is supportive of what was previously noted; it’s best to adopt a holistically healthy meal plan that incorporates quality, nutrient-dense whole foods from all food groups (lean proteins, complex carbohydrates including whole grains, and healthy fats),” Ms Bowman explains.
Exercise is always a good choice
While the diet portion might not be as safe as you’d hoped, the exercise portion of Wilson’s weight loss is a lot more positive.
“Rebel has mentioned in recent interviews that she’s been doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to aid her in her weight loss journey. HIIT involves fast-paced, intense bouts of full-body exercise interspersed with short, low-intensity recovery periods and makes up the core training style of F45,” says Ms Bowman.
“Research has shown that high-intensity interval training typically induces greater improvements in aerobic fitness, muscle tone, and body composition as compared to steady-state exercise alone. F45 training incorporates a variety of functional, HIIT workouts including dynamic plyometric exercises (jump training), isometric holds (planks), push-pull (push-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts), and dynamic core exercises.
“Functional high-intensity interval training is advantageous for both fat loss and muscle toning because it combines both resistance and cardiovascular training into a single session. The exercises are completed over just 45 minutes; however, they are performed rapidly with short rest periods to induce a rapid increase in exercising heart rate to promote fat burning.
“Research has found that there is a metabolic boost that occurs following a HIIT session that often lasts long after the workout has finished, which is ideal for those looking to achieve fat loss. In addition, while there are variations to HIIT training, many exercises do not typically require equipment which makes it significantly easier to stay consistent, avoid training plateaus, and stick to a routine even while on-the-go!” explains Ms Bowman.
Kim Bowman is a Certified Sports Nutritionist, former national athlete, and two-time Olympic trials qualifier. She completed her Masters of Science in Sports Nutrition from the University of British Columbia in 2017. She has worked in sports nutrition consulting, physiological testing, and meal plan development for several professional teams and athletes, including the Canadian Football League, the National Hockey League, Soccer Canada, Snowboard Canada, and Swimming Canada. For more information about F45, go to f45training.sg/downtowneastsingapore/home