But you know what?! I really like a small dollop of mayonnaise in my tuna! Of course, I try to use avocado oil based mayo (which I’m not right now, but I do try to make that substitution when available), but generally speaking….plop goes the Hellmans into the tuna!

I put that tuna/mayo combo over mixed greens and shredded carrots, so I feel good about that (even though a tuna melt on white bread with American cheese has a certain draw for me).

But this all made me realize something that I wanted to reaffirm for myself, and all of you out there who really enjoy something that may not be so healthy, without your inner voice making you feel bad about your desires and decisions.

Living your life by the 80/20 rule is the only way to truly enjoy yourself while also staying healthy.

Tuna, mixed greens, shredded carrots = 80.
Mayo = 20.
Life = 100!!

So let’s spend a few minutes here celebrating the 20s in our 80/20 rule of life! I’ll start, but I do hope you join in.

I enjoy drinking wine at cocktail hour with Rj/friends after a long day of work.

I understand the impacts of drinking too much alcohol on my performance, my ability to recover, how my eyes/skin look, my concentration and my waistline.

But I also understand the enjoyment I get from a good glass of wine, conversation with the hubby/friends, and celebration of making it through another day.

Wine maybe my 20, but my 80 in this scenario is a healthy dinner with sparkling lemon water and a cup of peppermint tea for dessert.

I’m a sucker for a really good bagel with cream cheese.

Now I know that too much bread makes my stomach bloat. I understand that a tub of cream cheese does nothing for my waistline or previous noted stomach bloat.

But there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a freshly made awesome bagel with veggie cream cheese over a relaxing breakfast.

So the occasional bagel with cream cheese may be my 20, but my 80 in this scenario is that Rj and I do this once/week in Portland at our favorite bagel place after we do a crazy good workout, we enjoy the time spent connecting in this really cool coffee shop (I even ‘splurge’ on a large almond milk latte), and we eat mindfully because this is a special occasion, not a run of the mill everyday breakfast.

I drink almond milk lattes when I’m traveling.

This one may be fairly normal to many people, but I am, again, very aware of how caffeine impacts your body and mind. Caffeine is a stimulant, and coffee is very acidic, so the combo can reek havoc on your ability to relax and also on your stomach lining.

But an almond milk latte makes me feel decadent. Relaxed. Excited about wherever I’m traveling to. I’d also argue I look very cosmopolitan and business vogue drinking a grown up coffee drink.

Almond milk lattes = 20, a treat for me that I indulge in only about 20% of the time. My 80 is my regular go to morning drink is a lovely cup or two of jasmine green tea (which I very much enjoy, has less caffeine than the latte, and sits much better in my belly).

Somedays, when I have a ‘free’ morning, I will lay in bed for an extra hour.

Nope. I don’t get up early and work out, do yoga, or otherwise make the most of that extra hour. I know that this would be the perfect time to get myself up and out, but I just don’t feel like it.

I am enjoying just laying around in bed. I love bed. Truth be told, this lounging around session ends with breakfast and a few Star Wars cartoons with Rj!

Laying around in bed doing nothing is my 20. Because the other 80 is up early, to the gym, work, and all the other things that need to be done in life.

I can easily eat a sleeve of Oreo cookies after dinner.

I’m not talking about a homemade blueberry pie, a fresh cannoli or some other homemade decadent dessert that one must partake in when available! I’m talking a sleeve of over processed, fake chocolate, sugar induced chemically created Oreo cookies.

I can chain-eat those suckers! Now doing so gives me a stomach ache, I feel bad about my self-control, and the sugar high makes for a restless night sleep. But yet, if Oreos are available, I accept all of those things and cram them into my mouth.

This is most definitely a 20 because my 80 is that I actually don’t care for dessert! I could skip dessert in favor of another plate of French fries. Sugar just isn’t my thing. So I have no idea where this Oreo addiction comes from, but there it is. 80% of my time is either not eating dessert or only partaking if the dessert is something I just can’t resist. So I let that 80 run the majority of my life and then every now and then, we invite a bag of Oreo cookies home with us.

Making the effort to make you, your life, your health or your career better is awesome. We should all do something(s) that make us better.

But if you want to maintain your sanity, appreciate that you are a ‘normal’ human being and create healthy habits that last a lifetime, you have to give into your indulgences periodically.

Living by the 80/20 rule is the best way I have found to truly live your most fulfilled life.

So stop aiming for perfection. Stop doing things just because they are healthy. Don’t let others shame you for your indulgences.

Be proud of your 20%! Wear your 20% like a badge of honor! Recognize that your 20% is what builds your character! Enjoy being a human being!

And pass the Oreos please…..


  • Gayle Hilgendorff

    Executive Health and Leadership Coach, Thrive Global Facilitator, Author and Aspiring Blogger

    Gayle Hilgendorff Executive Health and Leadership Coach / Thrive Global Facilitator / Aspiring Blogger (corporate2carny) / Author of Live More, Work Better: A Practical Guide to a Balanced Life (Bascom Hill Publishing Group, 2015) Gayle Hilgendorff is a certified executive health and leadership coach who left her Managing Director of Human Resources position at Accenture in 2011 to found her own business focused on helping corporate executives achieve their best, professionally and personally, through better health. While at Accenture, Gayle was responsible for executive career coaching and leadership development programs for a global organization of 30,000 people. After a turning point in her own career, she realized that true leadership and professional success were founded on being a healthy person – mentally, physically and emotionally – not just working harder. Gayle’s health passion became a platform for her consulting work with corporate executives. Working with participants across the globe, she incorporates holistic health concepts into her leadership coaching. Gayle integrates basic knowledge about how eating better, moving more, and finding ways to manage stress are the true foundations for a successful personal and professional life. With science backed concepts, and easy to integrate actions, Gayle’s programs have received high praise and tangible results. Gayle’s background in the corporate world combined with her likable, easy style make her a believable, relatable coach/presenter/author who has proven success in helping people make big change.