You started your diet with the best of intentions, but then the inevitable occurred. You went to a party and polished off a plate of hors d'oeuvres. You took a trip to new city and splurged on the local fare. You woke up in the middle of the night and ate a whole pint of ice cream.

No matter what your weight-loss blunder, you're not alone. According to experts, most dieters give into temptation one point or another. What's more important are the choices you make when you're at the crossroads. Follow these five tips to recover from your splurge and get back on track.

1. Keep it in perspective . Although your slipup may seem like a major failure, it doesn't have to be. No matter how indulgent your splurge, chances are it will have very little effect on your long-term weight-loss efforts. Instead of blaming yourself and dwelling on the event, simply recognize your transgression and resolve to move on.

2. Rethink your goals . According to a 2006 Pew Research Center poll, most dieters have lofty goals. In fact, the average respondent wanted to lose a whopping 29 pounds. But setting your sights that high may undermine your efforts. Instead, experts recommend focusing on smaller mini-goals of five or 10 pounds at a time.

3. Plan ahead . Whether it's family outings, business trips, or late nights at the office, many dieters fail to lose weight because they don't plan their meals and snacks in advance. Be sure to prepare your foods ahead of time so you're not tempted.

4. Burn it off . If you splurged on a large serving of French fries, remember that all is not lost. In fact, you can burn them off with 45 minutes of jogging. Did you indulge in a doughnut? Add a half an hour of extra walking to your fitness routine to undo the damage.

5. Learn from your mistakes . It;s often said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it—and this is particularly true for dieters. To avoid making the same mistake, pinpoint the source of your slipup, then come up with a set of strategies to cope with these challenges in the future.