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And the band played on...

I found there was only one way to look thin: hang out with fat people.
-Rodney Dangerfield

It's been a month of ups and downs, but predominantly downs. The weight loss has slowed significantly though I'm still currently at the lowest point in this journey thus far. I just weighed myself this morning and the scale read 282.5. That basically means I'm down 70 pounds and change since this whole thing began. I guess that's sort of impressive given that it's only been around 10 weeks. Of course, what is sort of disheartening is that the vast majority of that weight loss was in that first month. Ever since then, it's been a slow crawl downwards at a rate of about 2-3 pounds a week. I know that's probably what is considered 'normal' and would even be recommended by doctors and nutritionists, but it still feels like a bit of a failure when you consider how much effort has to go to maintain that rate. Even now, my average calorie intake per day is certainly under 1k and while there are some fluxations, I think I can maintain that for the time being.

One of the main reasons I started this weight loss attempt was that I knew that many doctors wouldn't go through with a transplant unless the patient's BMI was around 35. For my height, that put my goal at around 265 pounds, still almost 20 pounds from where I'm sitting now. I knew that no transplant was going to be avaliable for years, but I felt I had to do something and this was one of the few things that was acutally in my control. The funny thing is the nutritionist I saw at Barnabus a few days ago told me that she feels I'm already within the zone that they'd feel comfortable transplanting at. She actually encouraged me to simply maintain my weight which according to her calculations would involve eating 2600 calories daily. That is sheer insanity when even at the level I'm at, my potassium is borderline high. I'm not even sure how I could eat 3-4 times what I do currently and not end up giving myself potassium levels which would induce a heart attack/instant death. Just about everything has some levels of potassium in it. Well, I guess I could eat a loaf of wonderbread a day or maybe eat a bag of sugar. Somehow, that feels like it'd be a terrible idea.

I find myself thinking a lot about a couple years ago when Lori Martin posted on facebook about going on one of those diet programs where you basically gamble that you'll lose weight. You pay some up front cost and then have regularly scheduled weigh-ins at a doctor's office to track your progress. I don't recall if you were actually competing against other people or if there was some set percentage of weight loss you had to achieve, but success would result in you 'winning' more money than what you wagered in the first place. I should really have signed up for something like that before I started this whole process. i think it would make me feel better in the long run if I could have found some way to monetize my suffering.

There's a belt that's been in my closet for years that I haven't been able to use because it was too small. Frankly, I don't even remember when I last used it since I'm not exactly a belt person to begin with but I gave it a whirl for lack of other options the other day and I managed to squeeze into the second to last notch. I guess that's a tangible sign of progress.

Apple Wars: Honeycrisp



Our last apple is the Honeycrisp. This is also the only apple I know I've had for sure since these are the apples that Melissa seems to buy. The Honeycrisp is a large apple, easily bigger than any other apple tested. There is moderate smell of apple to the skin. The first bite was quite crisp and does not seem to have suffered for being allowed to ripen longer than the other apples. The taste is sweet as well as pleasantly tart, certainly not overwhelmingly so. Overall it seems like a nice blend of flavors. The skin is also one of the thinnest I've experienced, detracting not at all from the experience.

Crispness: 8/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Tartness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 2/5

Total score: 24 points

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Apple Wars: Envy



The Envy is what an apple is supposed to look like. Actually, the Red Delicious is what an apple is supposed to look like considering it's generally the only type of apple I've eaten for the vast majority of my life. I know people heap contempt on the Red Delicious but in a way, that's what I've based my entire idea of what an apple should look and taste like. I guess you can say the Envy looks about as appley as possible without being artifical. It is of a medium size and has a rich red color with striations that never fully go to yellow or green. There is a very slight apple odor to the skin near the stem. The first bite is very crisp and the sweetness is immediate. It's not overwhelming however and isn't as fructose forward as the Ambrosia. The flavor is quite appley and any tartness is mostly subsumed. The skin appears to be thicker than average and is a bit distracting. Overall this is an excellent apple.

Crispness: 8/10
Sweetness: 8/10
Tartness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 2.5/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 3/5

Total score: 25.5 points

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Apple Wars: Lady Alice



The Lady Alice is a large apple with yellow and red striations. There is a faint apple odor to the skin and the flesh smells quite appley. The first bite was very crisp and had a firm flesh. The flavor is very tart forward though not overwhelming. There is an underlying sweetness but it's more muted than most of the other apples. The skin is noticeable but not distracting. Richard and Melissa are of the opinion that this is the appleiest apple they've tried out of the batch and think it would make for a good source of apple butter or cider.

Crispness: 7/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Tartness: 3/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 4/5

Total score: 21 points

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Apple Wars: Rosalynn



The Rosalynn is a larger than medium apple featuring a rich, deep red coloration and irregular yellow dots. There is no smell to the apple skin or to the flesh itself. The first bite was mildly crisp though the flesh has a slightly mealy quality to it which would no doubt increase with ripening. The taste is sweet though moderately so. The skin is thin enough to not detract from the experience.

Crispness: 4/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Tartness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 1/5

Total score: 19 points

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Apple Wars: Koru



The Koru is a medium sized apple with red striations but patches of greenish yellow. There is no odor of apple in either the skin or the flesh. It is thus far the apple with the least olfactory signature with the flesh with only the flesh having a faint odor of greenery. The first bite was amazingly crisp. I had to actually strain a bit to sink my teeth into the flesh and then pry off the first bite. I seriously doubt it's possible to get any more crisp and this is after the apple had been ripening for almost a week. The first taste is of a tart and sweet merging harmoniously, much like the Fuji apple. Neither was dominant. The skin was very thick enough to be noticeable but there was no adverse effect upon the mouth feel of this apple.

Crispness: 10/10
Sweetness: 6/10
Tartness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 1/5

Total score: 23 points

Note: This apple was the one the Whole Foods cashier mentioned as being the one that was hardest to keep in stock and the highest in demand. It was also tied with another apple as the most expensive.

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Apple Wars: Fuji



The Fuji is a medium sized apple which oddly seems to vary between yellow/red striations and a speckled appearance. There is a faint scent of apple to the skin near the stem but very little to the flesh itself. The first bite was moderately crisp and no mealiness was detected in the flesh. The taste is quite sweet but has a mildly tart element as well. They seem to work well together rather than one transitioning into the other as I found with the Swee Tango varietal. The skin is thick enough to be noticible but doesn't detract from the apple in any way.

Crispness: 7/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Tartness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 2/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 2/5

Total score: 22 points

Note: I'm starting to wonder if I should be inverse scoring apples on Tartness. What I wanted to avoid was an apple that was primarily tart instead of sweet. This was more an issue with an apple like the Swee Tango which started quite tart and the sweetness only came through after a bit. In the case of this Fuji the two were paired and it added more of a depth rather than simply sweet on sweet. It seems wrong to deduct points for that but we'll just have to play this through.

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Apple Wars: Swee Tango



The Swee Tango is a red apple with yellow highlights which has little green-yellow speckles that sort of makes it look like it could be poisonous. There is no scent of apples to the skin and only the slightest hint to the flesh. The apple is crisp and initially tart with the sweetness coming forward over time. The skin is thick enough to be noticeable but doesn't too severely detract from the apple.

Crispness: 8/10
Sweetness: 5/10
Tartness: 3/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 3/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 1/5

Total score: 18 points

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Apple Wars: Gala



The Gala is an apple on the smaller side of medium with red and yellow striations. There is a faint apple smell to the skin which is slightly more intense for the flesh. The first bite was slightly crisp but the texture of the flesh was a little mealy. This would likely increase as the apple continued to ripen making this an apple best eaten quickly. The flesh is sweet and mellow while the skin is thin enough to barely be noticed.

Crispness: 4/10
Sweetness: 7/10
Tartness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 3/5

Total score: 22 points

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Apple Wars: Ambrosia



A nice looking red apple with yellow highlights. It was on the small side of medium and had no odor of apple to it. The Ambrosia has a crisp bite and pretty extreme sweetness. The sweetness is pretty straight sugar, almost as if it were a candy apple. Once broken the flesh still has no scent of apple and very little of that apple flavor in the taste. The skin was quite thick and stiff, almost sharp on the edges.

Crispness: 7/10
Sweetness: 9/10
Tartness: 1/5 {reverse scored}
Skin Thickness: 4/5 {reverse scored}
Appleyness: 1/5

Total score: 22 points

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