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Around this time a couple of years ago I waxed poetic in a blog after catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror.

I repeated that poem a year ago as I squeezed into my 34-inch waist jeans that used to be loose on me, and thought of it again the other evening when I came in from shoveling snow and ate half a bag of chips … while waiting for dinner.

I blame winter.

That first poem I called “An Ode to Comfort Food.” I figured this was a good time to expand on it.

Here goes:

If summer came right after Christmas

how trim and fit I might be.

I’d eat berries for breakfast, salads for lunch

and then tackle un-trimming the tree.

I’d pull on my gym shorts and sneakers

and off I’d go for a run.

All those leftover holiday cookies

would be so much easier to shun.

Yes, if summer came right after Christmas

how good my body would look.

For I’d be outside burning calories

’stead of inside reading a book.

I’d sweat while tilling the garden.

In the evening I’d go for a walk.

My exercise plan would be real.

In winter, I’m nothing but talk.

If summer came right after Christmas

there’d be no need for me to fulfill

my instinct to add all his blubber

to stave off winter’s chill.

Getting fat would be out of the question.

I follow a diet to the letter.

For I wouldn’t be able to hide

my girth ’neath a bulky sweater.

If summer came right after Christmas

the beach my name would be calling.

It’s message would be loud and clear:

My weight would have to be falling.

The prospect of donning a swimsuit

would be motivation enough for me

to ignore those holiday chocolates

or have just one, instead of three.

If summer came right after Christmas,

the groundhog would be unemployed.

And we wouldn’t have six more weeks

of exercise … to avoid.

No, we’d have to get up off the couch

and get ourselves to the gym.

We’d no longer have winter’s cold

as an excuse for not being thin.

Summer coming right after Christmas

is exactly how things would be

if I were in charge of the seasons,

if all this were up to me.

But the gods had another idea which

to my waistline has not been kind.

Christmas ushers in winter

and a different state of mind.

A nice healthy salad for dinner

when temps are in the teens?

I’m sorry, this isn’t the season

to fuel my body with greens.

I’ll pass on the salad, thank you.

Gimme something hearty instead.

Like a hot bowl of soup or chili

with half a loaf of bread.

I need calories to face Old Man Winter.

A full belly to keep me warm.

A big plate of pancakes and sausage

helps me weather a January storm.

Yes, my trousers are growing tighter,

and my abs are hidden by fat.

But in winter that just doesn’t matter.

Beef stew is where it’s at.

Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs online during the week at