So you've slipped up. Picture the scenario: You're on a diet, trying to lose weight slowly but surely, and all was going well until that moment when you just couldn't resist any longer.

So you had one biscuit (or whatever is your downfall) and then another and then you said the inevitable to yourself: "I've blown it for today so I might as well carry on eating now. I'll start again tomorrow."

Then the remorse hits you. You begin to say to yourself: I'm pathetic. I can't stick to my decision. I'll never lose weight. What's the point?"

Now turn that broken record off. Instead, I want you to make a list (yes, write it down) of all the ways you have been successful in changing your eating habits.

It doesn't matter how short lived the change, you must list it. Your list might look like this: 1) Last Saturday, my friend offered me another glass of wine and I said: "No, thank you." 2) I eat cereal and fruit for breakfast on most days now instead of having a fried breakfast. 3) I walked up the stairs instead of taking the elevator three times this week 4) I no longer pick while I prepare the dinner. I drink water and wait until the meal is ready.

If you list all your successes, however small, you will see you haven't always failed. You can begin to say to yourself: "If I can do it once, I can do it many times."

There are two elements to recovering from a binge. We've explored the first, where you learn to stop berating yourself and instead to look for little successes.

This also involves a large element of forgiveness. It's important to put the blip behind you. It's done. If you resolve to starve yourself for the next week to make up for it, you are on the surest route to your next binge.

Deprivation never leads to permanent weight loss. But forgiveness, if it's to be of any value, must include a decision not to do it again.

This leads to the second element of recovering from a binge: Learning from what just happened in order to prevent the same behaviour occurring in the future.

Here's an example: A woman, let's call her Mary, has managed to improve her evening eating habits over two months.

She used to sit in front of the television half-an-hour after an ample evening meal and munch her way through two large packets of crisps.

Now she has a low-calorie chocolate drink at around 9pm and she's contented. Then her husband starts to go out every Wednesday to an evening class and Mary suddenly finds herself left to her own devices.

The larder beckons and, on that first Wednesday, she binges. By the time Mary goes to bed, she is feeling stuffed and miserable.

But, before the following Wednesday comes around she is able to remind herself how successful she has been and vows not have another Wednesday evening like the last.

She makes a list of all the things that she wants to on that evening to keep her from the larder. She lists phone calls and letters, bath and a manicure.

She keeps reminding herself that she has done it before and she can do it again. And she does.

So don't let one slip mean the end of all the good work so far.

By Dr Judy Citron