Dudo Erny’s The Antarctic Diet poses an intriguing premise: lose weight with the help of cold temperatures.
Erny’s book seems largely inspired by the impact of Antarctica’s severe weather conditions on explorers, causing them to lose massive amounts of weight. In fact, his slim treatise focuses nine of his 19 chapters just on various explorers, the hardships they faced and how they lost weight—and sometimes had to eat their sled dogs to survive and/or died.
The book’s main premise—finally stated in the 16th chapter—is that “physical labor in the cold will definitely get rid of quite a few kilos.” Erny’s basic suggestions in this brief chapter are to take long walks in winter, lower the heat in the car and at home, vacation in the mountains instead of at the beach. He also advises wearing proper clothing for the elements, including good shoes that prevent slipping. Although he offers detailed examinations of the explorers’ expeditions—sometimes down to the exact gram or kilogram of food they ate—he fails to deliver similar particulars about this diet plan.
Furthermore, the prose is so meandering—almost stream of consciousness—that it’s hard for readers to understand exactly what the author wants them to do. This poor organization will discourage readers, as will the lack of indentations in every paragraph and some comma splices.
Readers who are quite overweight will also likely take offense at some of Erny’s judgments, such as when he notes that normal-weight people are often justifiably uncomfortable in the presence of the obese: “The seats in airplanes, the opera house or theater are pretty close together and when part of your personal space is taken up by a fat neighbor, tolerance tends to die a fairly quick death.”
While an interesting idea, this is more of a look at Antarctic explorers than a concrete diet plan. Overall, revision is required to make the book’s message and prose more accessible to readers.