OK, fine. I'm not currently thin by most standards, and I'm not actively working to get that way. I would, however, like to avoid getting less thin, a battle my body and I wage against the long months of winter every year.

Its just so easy to fight the cold with sugar and salt, preferably sprinkled atop something hot and deep fat fried. A lack of sunshine makes me crabby and cold, two symptoms that send me straight to the cough with my favorite snacks. You can see why I find it difficult to be beach ready by the time summer finally rolls around.

What do my winter eating habits have to do with Whoopi?

Turns out Goldberg is one of the big-name comedians coming to Grand Rapids annual LaughFest this year. The 10-day festival of comedy will bring national stars and community talent to local screens and stages March 8 - 18, 2012, and a ticket could be the key to battling his years winter bulge. Stay with me.

Laughter can make you skinny.

Scientists at Vanderbilt University found that 10 to 15 minutes of a good, hearty laugh burns enough calories to burn off a medium square of chocolate. The same researchers concluded that you burn 20% more calories when laughing than when not laughing.

LaughFest runs for 10 days. If 10 to 15 minutes of laughing can burn off one piece of chocolate, a festival of comedy that runs for a week and a half should be able to make a significant dent in a winter blues butt. That's just good science!

Laughter can also make you happier, which can make you skinnier.

Scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham followed men and women for 15 years, monitoring their weight and waist circumference. Participants who said they were depressed were more likely to gain weight and inches in their waist. This confirms my suspicion that I eat more in the winter because of the depression symptoms brought on by a lack of sunshine. I need to get some sun and have a good laugh so that Ill be happier and put away the Twinkies. Again, science!

Ticket information for LaughFest is available at http://laughfestgr.org/tickets/. I'm considering a visit to my doctor to see if I can use my good science to get a prescription for laughter; surely I can get my insurance company to pitch in for a ticket.