Everyone wants to look and feel their best on holiday.

Whether it's to appear slimmer on the beach or enjoy country walking without puffing, we usually wish we'd taken action earlier.

At the same time, we also like to take advantage of the good food and drink on holiday.

So is it worth a crash diet to be able to achieve better looks and a better booze-up?

There are two aspects to this.

First is the consequences of crash dieting, which is by definition pretty stringent.

And the second is you can't enjoy yourself on holiday unless you're almost binge eating and drinking.

The two implications are separate and connected.

Let's tackle the first issue. If you look around and question yourself honestly, you have to conclude that if you're still doing diets and yet have weight to lose, diets don't work.

If you look at diet books on sale today, you'll see an increasing number called approximately: "Diets Make You Fat".

Yes, you lose weight in the short term while you embark on some insufferable regime.

You may be on a high when you see the weight go down in the first couple of weeks.

But then the inevitable happens. You snap. You're tempted and you just can't resist.

Then, of course, once you've blown it, you can't stop. So you promise yourself you'll start again tomorrow (or after your holiday).

But we can only put up with deprivation for so long. And the problem is, of course, tomorrow never comes.

Now on to the holiday aspect. You set off proud of your achievement but nevertheless reeling from deprivation and looking forward to all the goodies available on holiday which you might not even have to cook.

You deserve a treat or three. After all, you've been so well behaved precisely so you can let your hair down.

Then the inevitable happens. You blow it big time. And now it's "with permission" since you are on holiday.

You're on the way to piling back on all the weight you lost before your trip.

The answer lies both in your head and in your habits.

First the mental changes: You need to accept it is possible to enjoy yourself on holiday without pigging out and starving yourself before you go away cannot ever be a long-term solution. It just leads to binge eating.

So how can you achieve a balance which will prevent the wild yo-yo pattern? The answer is to mirror the behaviour of naturally slim people. They utilise two key criterion before they eat, not once in a while but every day and every time food is on offer - even on holiday.

Firstly, they only eat when they are hungry and secondly they make choices.

Yes, naturally slim people reject food - even yummy food - if they're not hungry.

Unlike you - and all those like you - they know they will be able to eat what they like later, when they are hungry.

But when you make a food choice, it's governed by rules which are nothing to do with appetite.

Are you on diet? Which diet? Is it naughty? Can you succumb today and diet tomorrow?

These questions are a million miles away from the naturally slim person's mind.

You must adopt those attitudes if you want to avoid the pre-holiday and post-holiday fasting.

Try it. It's well worth it.