Those of you who are struggling to lose weight will understand exactly what I mean when I say you have a love-hate relationship with food.

Your attraction to it is so strong you can't do without it and, at the same time, when you do over-indulge, you feel thoroughly guilty and full of remorse.

How did we end up in such a confused state? We can learn an awful lot by looking in depth at the behaviour of naturally slim people.

If only we could do what they do, we would be well on the way to our ideal weight.

Naturally slim people don't have this love-hate relationship with food.

They usually enjoy food without the confusion and guilt we associate with it - this food is "bad", that one is "sinful", "I've been naughty".

Slim people don't regard food in the same way. That's rather a paradox.

Here we are with food making us feel bad and we are overweight and there they are, relating to food as a pleasure, and they are slim.

I'd like to unravel this paradox. To do so, I need to tell you a little bit more about naturally slim people.

They love food and, even more than that, they don't have any guilt about food.

There is a very simple reason for that: They've never been on a diet.

It's diets that mess you up. It's diets that indoctrinate you into "good" food and "bad" food or "naughty-but-nice" food.

To naturally slim people, food is to be chosen carefully when you are hungry. Then, when you're hungry, you can eat exactly what you fancy until you're satisfied (not stuffed).

If they want a bag of crisps, that's fine. If they want ice cream, that's fine, too.

They're not likely to have a large tub of ice cream or three bags of crisps because they know they can have more tomorrow.

You or I know that tomorrow we have to be back on our diet.

It's quite natural then, once you've started on that "naughty" food, to stuff it all in because tomorrow it will be forbidden.

The naturally slim person is a gourmet. That's strange.

Here are all these slim people who love food and who probably know a lot more about it than you or I.

I don't know for a fact but I'm prepared to guess more slim people watch the many cookery programmes than overweight people.

The overweight feel guilty. They're not comfortable with cooking.

It is a very complicated relationship.

Of course, there are exceptions but it's common to find overweight people who don't like cooking.

The problem is they don't care what they eat. Junk will do: Frozen bread, stale cake, half a fish finger. It doesn't bear thinking about.

The gourmet wants only good food and will wait until it's available.

If they need to cook it and they're hungry, they can wait.

So try and find more love for food and less guilt. Become a gourmet and lose weight.

You can get support from Dr Judy Citron and her team of DietCoaches by joining her telephone weight-loss classes, right from your own home. "You lose weight and you're not on a diet. It's amazing." Phone free for more information on 0800 074 0260 or visit the web site at