I’m not really one for diets. It’s not that I couldn’t lose some weight, it’s just that the discipline and attention required quickly irritate me. I’ve launched two modestly successful diets in my life only to fall off the wagon a few months later. I’ve read only one diet book before Beer Drinker’s. I say all of that to say this: my knowledge of diets and the huge library of books available on the subject is limited, so this review should be taken as that of a beer writer’s and not a dietary expert’s.
The Beer Drinker’s “Diet” is divided into two distinct halves. The first chronicles in excruciating detail the author’s diet and fitness history. In a mind numbing narrative, Cailor presents a narcissistic confession about his journey from an amateur weightlifter in high-school and college to a depressed, overweight thirty-something. He parcels the stages of his life in chapters that each end with his explanation of the weight-loss plan that he observed – or didn’t observe – during that particular period, and the net effects it had on his body. This first half is finally topped off with pictures of none other than the author himself at various stages of fitness and obesity.
But, What is the Beer Drinker's Diet Plan?
After dragging myself through 76 pages of navel gazing rot, I still held hope that Cailor would at last share a sensible and livable diet plan. I was disappointed. The second half of the book, the logical place for the diet plan after it wasn’t contained in the first half, failed to present a comprehensive and cohesive plan. There are allusions to a plan in the first chapter of this section called “Tips and Tricks.” I was a bit puzzled by this as I would expect such a chapter to come after the plan is laid out. After reading “Tips and Tricks” I realized that the plan is in fact buried within this chapter. With a bit of sleuthing and a thorough review of the tips and tricks I think that I understand Cailor’s weight-loss plan.
Essentially, it’s based on a sensible diet, calorie control and exercise. That’s pretty good advice. But what about the beer, you may be asking. Beer is mentioned only peripherally. The idea here is to eat right and exercise and, if you have some particular indulgences, just keep them in moderation. Beer acts as a symbol of these indulgences that often derail diet plans. Cailor is proudly anti-establishment within the dieter’s cannon by encouraging moderate enjoyment of things such as beer or sweets where other diet plans require a strict prohibition.
A great deal of his system is based on the idea of individualizing a plan. This is perhaps where I went wrong during the first reading of Chapter 11. There is no diet per se because Cailor’s intention is not to give the reader a hard and fast plan. Rather, he wants to share what works for him, give the reader the facts about nutrition and exercise and let them design a diet that works for them based on these ideas.
The book wraps up with a chapter called “Eating and Exercise Overview.” Cailor leads the reader through an hour by hour schedule of an average day in the life of Bradley Scott Cailor, including the times when he plays with his dog. Next he discusses the foods that are regularly included in his diet and the different weightlifting exercises he uses.
The most remarkable aspect of this book, though, is the writing. I don’t generally spend too much time examining an author’s voice – either it clicks for me or it doesn’t – but in this case it is so astounding it deserves particular note. The many typographical and factual errors and the distinct shunning of the standard rules of usage of the English language make The Beer Drinker’s “Diet” seem like a first draft at best. I’m surprised that a book so in need of editing was allowed even to go to print. Cailor is enthusiastic about his subject and that is the only thing clearly communicated through the thick film of poor writing and baffling grammar which stands between the reader and his message. Everything else, like the diet plan itself, must be divined forth with careful deduction and not a little assuming about what the author must have meant to say.