What a Waste!

Every time I see a woman wearing a waist trainer on social media, my blood literally starts to boil! I  had to stop to think why these images elicited such a strong response. Upon deep introspection this is what I came up with… It takes me back to my stage days when I was first introduced to this contraption. A time when my body dysmorphia was at it’s peak, and my self image was at it’s lowest. Strange, right? A time when I was in the “best” physical shape of my life, and yet I struggled internally just as much as I did when I was in the height of my Binge Eating Disorder. I really don’t know what’s worse? Being stage ready and beating myself for not being able to maintain that look as my walk around physique? Or being obese and hating myself for not having the discipline to stay consistent with a eating cleaner? Trying to find a happy medium is something I continue to work towards. I surely have come miles and miles from my competition days. But I digress. Back to the my enraging reaction to these corsets…

I realized that the “squeem” just confirms the notion that you aren’t good enough just the way you are. Your god-given, genetic shape isn’t good enough. You have to have a 22-inch waist to “win” in physique shows . The way I see it, if you can do all of the food prep, weighing & measuring, restricting of certain foods, and hours upon weeks upon months of blood, sweat, & tears in the gym, then you my friend, have already WON! I now realize that I, personally, should have never ventured into the world of competing. After a lifetime of living with body image issues, and disordered eating, this was a space I had no place being in; for obvious reasons! (Just something to consider if you are thinking about taking the plunge!)

While I know there will be several people that won’t share my same opinion regarding these waist trainers, you do have wonder why you would you want to “change” just to fit into a particular physique “mold?”  That is beyond me. I mean we were all put on this  earth as unique individuals with varying shapes & sizes for a reason. What a mundane world it would be without some diversity. And besides no one does a better job at being you than YOU…just the way you are!

Love & Light,


As seen in Oxygen Magazine!

I had the distinct honor of being featured as a “Success Story” in Oxygen Magazine August 2016 edition. I’m so very excited to be able to share my journey on a national level, as it is my passion to bring hope & inspiration to those who also struggle with Binge Eating Disorder.

These are 5 nuggets of advice, as seen in the article, that I recommend to anyone who has the desire for permanent weight loss.

  1. Don’t fall for shortcuts – weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint!
  2. Take it one meal at a time, one day at a time.
  3. Focus on non-scale victories. (IE: Clothes fit looser, or you have increased your weights in the gym.)
  4. Eat food you love; if you don’t love fish, don’t eat fish!
  5. Find a plan you can follow that is realistic for you and your lifestyle.

Love and Light,


Well, you know what they say, age is JUST a number! Isn’t it though? So what’s the difference between these two images, well besides the amazing hair & make-up artistry and killer photography? My mind-set! Yep! It only took me about 33 years of existence to figure it out, and the last 6 to get to practicing it!

What do I mean by mindset? I mean the way I process things, choose to react to them, and the actions that follow. When I was 21 years old in undergraduate school, and stressed out of mind, I honestly didn’t know how to cope. I realize now that I lacked this skill prior to that time period, but this is when it was blatantly obvious. And my Binge Eating Disorder was at one of it’s all time peaks. I was in a program that required a semester of applying including clinic hours, application, and a 3-panel interview just to be accepted. And then once I was in the program, 2 years of course work on top of traveling with various sports team, one of which was from Cornell University. And anyone who knows sports, knows that Division I athletics are no joke. Even at an Ivy League school! So, having a Type A  personality and the need to have a 4.0 GPA, plus my responsibilities with athletic training, lack of sleep, poor self-esteem, and loneliness, food was my only coping mechanism. There was very little thought before diving into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a jar of peanut butter, and family sized bag of Baked Lay’s, other than ‘this is the last time!’ ‘I’m starting my diet tomorrow, I promise!’ And when I said it, I really did mean it. But the next day would come, and I would find myself in the same scenario, but just didn’t know how to stop it!

Fast forward to 2010, the year I competed in my 1st Bikini Competition and ironically the same year I was officially diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder, and finally sought help. Despite being in the best shape of my life aesthetically, my mind-set was such that food was still my only resolve. One part of my treatment was talk therapy. It was there that I finally realized that I didn’t have a problem with food, but with my thinking. It was stopping myself from being on autopilot and stuffing myself silly with sweet treats, and learning to sit with my feelings. Feelings of loneliness. Feelings of not being lovable. Feeling of not being not pretty enough or skinny enough that a man would ever want me. Not really a very comfy cozy type of place to be, right? I mean, who wants to voluntarily be in emotional pain, and be sad & cry, anyway? Or admit how poorly they feel about themselves and their self worth? Why? When my good pals Ben & Jerry were there to make me feel better, temporarily that is. Until I ate so much that my physical pain of fullness overwhelmed my emotional pain.

I always think about this quote, “be KiNd for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I mean from the outside I had it all, right?  I lost all the weight, had the best physique I’d ever had, a great career, a home, etc, etc, etc. NO. NO. And NO! Those THINGS are all really nice to have, and I am EXTREMELY grateful. However, changing my mind-set, and learning to stop, rationally think about (Rationale being the key word there!), and take positive self-nurturing actions, is the ONLY thing that has helped me from regaining the 40+ pounds I have lost over the years. You CANNOT go on a diet and think that just by changing your food choices that you are going to lose weight, and keep it off! If that was the case we wouldn’t have to say…’try Atkins, and then oh, Jenny Craig, but wait, Weight Watchers is gonna do this time, and for good!’ WRONG! You MUST change your thinking. I by NO means am claiming to have this mastered. But I have gotten better over the years! I’m kinda like fine wine I guess. I get better with age! LOL!

BELIEVE ME when I say I know this is not an easy task. But if you have been dieting for years or are constantly struggling with your weight, I really hope this impresses upon you to look at your “food issues” through a different lens. Perhaps looking at things from a different perspective, stopping and asking yourself what’s really going on here, you will find yourself having results that you’ve longed for for years!

Love and Light,

Final Blog Post of 2015!

As I reflect back on 2015, I am reminded of just how truly blessed I am! I had so many amazing opportunities & experiences, and these are just a few!

I started my year by attending Lori Harder’s Bliss Project. (BTW: today is the last day to get in on her payment plan for the 2016 retreat!) I have “followed” Lori for years and finally had the chance to meet her live. She is just as wonderful as you would expect, and her message & retreat are reflective of the ray of light that she is! Plus, I was able to attend with my soul sister, Edyta Schwartz, my forever friend!

In May, I took my first trip to Charleston, SC to visit my fitness friend, Stephanie Keenan of SK Fit Life. I meet Stephanie when she was a competitor, and was so excited to learn that she lived right here in Philadelphia. Well, until she moved last year. So what better excuse for a road trip! We had a great time catching up, working out, and seeing the sights!

This past summer for the 1st time, my family rented a house in Cape May, NJ for a week. I have a very small family consisting of my parents, brother, his wife & children. So we are very close and had a blast at the beach. The only caveat of getting the house was that it needed to pet friendly! It was Bella’s vacation too, you know?!

Last year I had the pleasure of shooting with Michael-David Reilly in Houston, Texas. He had discussed this vision he had of creating an online community of fitness professionals from all walks to connect, network, and have opportunities that only a select few experience in the industry. He did just that! And I am honored to have been chosen as 1 of the groups Founding Members at FitnessModels.com.

A major part of 2015 was spent attending obedience classes with Ms. Bella. We completed Obedience 2 & 3, and took the Canine Good Citizen’s test. Which she passed! We also completed Therapy Dog training, but unfortunately did not pass the certification exam. What I can say, she gets excited when she meets new people and likes to jump on them to show her love! LOL. We are currently working on that, and have plans to pass the exam early in 2016 so we can visit Children’s Hospital and spread some joy!

While I was at the Bliss Project in February, I had the pleasure of participating in the international movement entitled, Love is the True Black. Natalie Alexia’s movement & vision came to fruition on September 21, 2015, Peace Day. She posted over 2000 images of people who were asked; “If you wore your message on your body? What one message would you share with the world?” Each individual message was written on the participant’s body, and all of the images were released on that day. Truly a remarkable & memorable moment!

In October, I was able to check off a bucket list item! I have ALWAYS wanted to work with James Patrick of James Patrick Photography. I had been in contact with James for well over a year and we discussed shooting, but he is based in Arizona; a place I only get to for work. But this year he hosted the 1st ever Fitposium, an educational and inspirational seminar focused on success in the fitness talent and modeling industry. Um, yes please! So now was my chance to do it all! Shoot with James and attend the seminar! He had a stacked panel of presenters including Lori Harder, Kim Dolan Leto, Dave Dreas, Felicia Romero, and Sarah Lyons! Which was another bonus! I shot with Sarah of Picture Groove Photography as well. It was a trifecta weekend, I tell you! But the icing on the cake was the networking & getting to meet some amazing women who were in attendance as well!

And like EVERY year, the best close to 2015 was spending Christmas back home in New York with my family! I cherish the time I spend with them! I am so truly blessed to have the tight knit relationships I do with my parents, brother, sister-in-law (her immediate family as well), my 2 teen-aged nephews, and 5 year-old niece! They truly make the holiday…well them and all of the Christmas Cookies! 🙂

So now you can clearly understand why I have so much gratitude on this last day of 2015. Not only do I  have my health, a thriving career amongst truly good people, the love of my family & friends, the best dog EVER, but all of these wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

Happy New Year! Wishing you the best 2016 EVER!

Love and Light,


In today’s digital world, modern society has developed a culture that strives for and actually expects perfection, particularly in regards to body image. With the boom of social media, we, including myself, can find ourselves comparing and scrutinizing over the images portrayed online. I have felt like a failure, less than, and lacked self-love as a result of this facade. But no longer! It’s time to take back our power, and learn to #RockTheSkinYouAreIn!

For those that don’t know my story, apparently I have even been seen as someone with a “perfect” physique, and one that just naturally has it together. Until of course, I pull out my “before” pictures, and share the struggles I have experienced throughout my life with Binge Eating Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and Depression. And then it’s almost like people are relieved to know that I’m not just genetically gifted, and have had to fight & claw to overcome my inner demons.

“Perfect” physique?! Far from it! Due to my 40+ lb weight loss, my skin sags and I have stretch marks. See for yourself in the featured image. Both photos were taken at the same shoot, just in different settings with alternate poses.  I used to get really self-conscious, and embarrassed when photographers wanted to do particular poses that I knew the excessive skin would show in. I’d try to pull my pants up higher to cover it, or suck in my stomach (which, by the way, just made it sag more!). Now I simply let them know, that due to my weight loss, I have extra skin that hangs from my belly, and that certain positions just aren’t as flattering. I have learned to OWN IT! And #RockTheSkinIAmIn!

There is absolutely NOTHING I can do to get rid of the skin, unless I was to undergo surgery to remove it. Even when I have six-pack abs, I still have that layer of excess skin that covers them. Some people might see this as a flaw, but it actually reminds me of where I was and just how far I have come! And besides, I would MUCH rather have that extra skin than the extra 40+ lbs I used to carry! If that’s the trade-off, I’ll take it!

If you find yourself trying to size up against what you see online and in the media, please stop. I understand looking to certain individuals for motivation and inspiration, but when you start to feel BAD about yourself…I’m pretty sure that it is no longer serving its purpose or you! Surround yourself with images, people, and an environment that fosters self-love & acceptance, no matter what your pant size or number on the scale. Learn to LOVE all your perceived “flaws”, and go out and #RockTheSkinYouAreIn!

I would love to see your confidence and radiance shine through in all of the images you post online! Be sure to hashtag #RockTheSkinYouAreIn! Join the Movement! Until next time…

Love and Light,

Here It Is: The BEST Weight Loss Tip I’ve EVER Been Given!

It’s NOT what you’re thinking. It’s NOT a diet. It’s NOT a special supplement. And it’s NOT a specific workout!

When I was diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder back in 2010, I had consulted with Dr. Judith Beck at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research. I had been referred to her New York Times Bestseller, “The Beck Diet Solution,” by a dear friend, Keri Mantie owner of The Lean Life with Keri Mantie. She had found some of the principles in the book to be useful, and suggested I read it too. I DID find much of the information to be helpful with several of the behavioral issues I had struggled with.

So I found myself wanting to learn more about Dr. Beck. Did she have a private practice? Was she accepting new clients? I wanted to see this woman for myself to see if she could possibly help me with my unhealthy relationship with food. Wouldn’t you know, her office was right here in a suburb of Philadelphia?! Actually, only a 15 minute drive away! The Universe has a REALLY interesting way of putting what you need right in your lap! Literally!

I immediately contacted the office to find out if I could schedule an appointment to see Dr. Beck. Unfortunately, she was no longer taking on new patients, but she would do an hour long consultation, and refer you to someone she knew and respected to continue treatment. It was that day, that I would officially be told that I had Binge Eating Disorder, and I was sent on my way to recovery with another Cognitive Behavioral Therapist Dr. Beck had suggested.

I continued to read other books Dr. Beck had written, and joined her mailing list to learn as much as I could from her. Needless to say, I had the opportunity to attend a full day workshop she hosted in Philadelphia. During that meeting she gave me the BEST piece of weight loss I had ever received, and to this day I remember it clearly. Dr. Beck was discussing the gazillion quick fixes on the market that are available and said, “unless it’s a plan you can stick to for the rest of your life, don’t do it. You’ve got to find something that you can do forever!” And she was RIGHT! If you want to take off the weight and keep it off, you’ve got to find something that is amendable to you & your lifestyle that is sustainable for the rest of your life!

I’m just as guilty as the next person in wanting what I want, when I want it, and NOW already! But when I think back to all of those times when I bought into various “quick fix” plans, and said to myself, “this is it! This time it’s going to be different!” It NEVER was. It actually makes me pretty sick to think about all of the wasted money I spent thinking that THIS was THE plan that was going to work. And I ALWAYS felt like a failure when it didn’t!

What works for one person is not always going to work for the next. But what I DO know FOR SURE is that if you buy into the next Cleanse, Detox, Challenge or Fix, chances are the results will only be temporary. Most of those plans are simply putting you into a caloric deficit and ANYONE will lose weight when your body is put into this state. But once you get tired of the same shake, bar or tonic every day and stop eating that way, you will send yourself right back to where you started!

The basis of any good “plan’ should include the following:

1) Foods that you LIKE to eat. There is ALWAYS a healthy substitute for something you don’t really LOVE. These primarily should be WHOLE, natural foods. The less processed the better!
2) Includes ALL of the food groups. Unless you have an allergy, intolerance, or just know that a certain food doesn’t sit well with you, it’s necessary to eliminate them completely.
3) Room for the occasional indulgences.

I want you ALL to be successful in your journeys to a healthier you. I hope you found this tip helpful. If you have others tips that have helped you, please share them in the comments below. We are all in this together, and can share in our successes together as well!

Love & Light,



Water. And what you REALLY need to know about it.

Since the hot days of summer are quickly approaching, now seems like a great time to discuss hydration. This is the time when heat-related injuries are most prevalent, unfortunately. But when you think about the importance the role water plays in the body, it should be a vital component of your diet at all times of the year.

There is no other nutrient more important to the human body than water. While you can go weeks without food, you can only last about 5-7 days without water. According to Duke University, when the water in your body is reduced by just 1 percent, you become thirsty.  At 5 percent, muscle strength and endurance declines significantly and you become hot and tired.  When the loss reaches 10 percent, delirium and blurred vision occur.  A 20 percent reduction results in death.

About 60% of the male body is water, and approximately 50% of the female. Every day, we lose 2-3 quarts of water through urination, sweating and breathing.  Since many of the processes within the body rely greatly on water, it is important we replace our fluids regularly to compensate for this loss.


When we exercise, water loss through sweat can be up to 1-2L per hour! According to the American College of Sports Medicine, dehydration is likely to start affecting exercise performance when sweating causes you to lose 2% or more of your normal (hydrated) body weight. That’s more than 51 ounces, or a little over 3 pounds, for an “average” person of 160 pounds. Bodybuilding.com states this “2% drop in body water can cause a small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and slow thinking. Dehydration can also reduce endurance, decrease strength, cause cramping, and slow muscular response.” Water, obviously, is vital in delivering oxygen to muscles and helps the body perform physical labor more efficiently.

Needs vary, but on as a rule of thumb the following can be used as a reference:

Drink Water How Much? When?
Before Exercise 8-16 oz At least 15 minutes before workout
During Exercise 4-8 oz Every 15-20 minutes
After Exercise 16-24 oz per pound* lost As soon as possible

*Source: SparkPeople.com, “Drinking Water During Exercise” by Dean Anderson, PT & Becky Hand, RD


1) Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

2) Skin can appear healthier when you are properly hydrated. “Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” says says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.

3) Water aids in Weight Loss. One way is through the principle of volumetrics. Clinical trials have shown drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water prior to a meal can suppress your appetite. The water fills your stomach & reduces the tendency to eat more. It also increases your metabolic rate, and promotes the breakdown & elimination of fat cells.

4) Elimination of Toxins. Water will eliminate impurities & toxins from the body through sweat,  urine and stool. Research suggests staying hydrated can reduce your risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and breast cancer as well.


I can completely understand the confusion when there is natural spring water, distilled water, tap water, well water, mineral water, artisan water, filtered water, and antioxidant water. In my opinion, antioxidant water is hands down the BEST! And here is way:

1) Strengthens the immune system by delivering a large amount of negatively charged electrons, that adhere to & neutralize the free-radicals (as a result of poor diet, stress, pollution, chemicals, medications, etc) causing damage daily, and premature aging within the body.

2. Raises your body alkalinity. This is high pH water which flushes acidic toxins out of the body. Too many of us are highly acidic. Acidosis is the cause of many diseases. Cancers, chronic fatigue, and many other illnesses thrive in an acidic body.

3. Energizes the body, acting like a super nutrient. When this water restores alkalinity and flushes toxins out the body, the blood is cleaned and able to deliver critical nutrients to the body. This water helps deliver nutrients to your cells more efficiently than tap or other waters, which will give you more energy throughout the day.

4. Hydrates the body better. The molecular structure of antioxidant water is smaller in size making it 6x more absorbable. The water easily penetrates the body at a cellular level, resulting in a continual flood of enhanced hydration & renewal. Cells begin to function for optimal health and peak athletic performance.

I bet you never thought there was so much that could be said about Water, right? Clearly, it plays a vital role in our daily functioning, and ultimately our journey to better health. If you would like to try the antioxidant water that I spoke about, I’d be happy to try to get you a sample so you can feel the difference for yourself! Until next time…

Love & Light,



Get the Skinny on HIIT!

I know I have referred to HIIT a number of times in my blog posts. And I share free HIIT cardio workouts on my social media pages weekly (Facebook: Tawny Clark & Instagram: @Tawnyclark). So I want to take the time to explain exactly what it is, and why you should be doing it!

HIIT refers to High Intensity Interval Training. GASP! I know if sounds so daunting, doesn’t it? Well if you want to get greater energy expenditure (Read: burn more calories) in a shorter amount of time, then you will want to give it a try. HIIT involves alternating between very intense bouts of exercise with low intensity exercise. But those INTENSE bouts are all relative to YOUR fitness level. Intense for you personally, may be power walking, whereas for someone else it may be sprinting. The great thing about it is, you will both get the benefits & see changes in your physique! And you can choose any mode of exercise you prefer to do your High Intensity Interval Training: swimming, cycling, walking, running, sprinting, stair climbing, the Elliptical, etc.

So what are the benefits of HIIT? High Intensity Interval Training has been shown to improve both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, cardiovascular health, improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower body fat & weight, all while maintaining your hard earned muscle. Yes, Please! And while the benefits are similar to that of long duration endurance activity, you get all of this in a shorter time period! But best of all, even after you finish your workout, you will still be burning MORE calories! Yep! You heard me correctly. That time is referred to as EPOC, or excessive post-workout oxygen consumption. And it typically last about 2 hours, when your body is restoring itself to pre-workout levels, thus utilizing more energy. Since HIIT is vigorous in nature, the EPOC is greater and adds about 6-15% more calories to the overall workout expenditure, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Because HIIT workouts are more exhaustive and place a greater demand on the body, they should be limited to 2-3 times per week. The workout typically last anywhere from 10-20 minutes of WORK. That does NOT include a proper warm-up and cool-down. Here is an example of a High Intensity Interval Training treadmill workout:

Set the Incline to 10%

5:00 Speed 3.5 Warm-up

:30 Speed 7.0 (WORK)
1:30 Speed 3.2 (Recover)
REPEAT 15x = 20:00

5:00 Speed 3.0 Cool-down NO Incline

**If it’s not busy in the gym, I will actually use 2 treadmills so I don’t have to keep increasing and decreasing the speed. Set both treadmill inclines to 10%, but 1 with a speed of 7.0 & the other to 3.2. It’s a beautiful thing! You’ll see!

Now you can understand why I’m so passionate about HIIT. Check out my social pages for your weekly dose! Until next time…

Love & Light,


How I lost over 40lbs. It’s not what you think!

I get a number of questions about my transformation. I feel as though people only see the “after” me, and don’t really know how I got to my present day self. I want to be completely transparent of what my 13 YEAR journey has looked like.

I was always “chunky” as a kid, and I have dieted on and off my entire life. Anyone recall the “Cabbage Soup” diet or the “Grapefruit” diet?! Or know who Susan Powter is?! I’m aging myself, I know! LOL! My point being, I have had a poor relationship with body image and food for quite some time. I was always trying the next quick fix in hopes of reaching my ideal body. What that was at the time, I still have no idea. But it was not until 2002 that I finally realized that if I wanted to take off the weight and keep it off, I was going to have to see this journey as a marathon not a sprint!

I DID NOT go from 164+lbs with poor eating habits, to eating chicken, sweet potatoes, and green beans overnight! When I began my weight loss journey, I started simply by portion control. I took one step until I made that a habit. I would have a half of a turkey sandwich (yes deli meat, gasp!) with cheese (did she say dairy?) on whole wheat bread (and gluten?!), and have half a bag (the big one) of cheddar-flavored baked Ruffles (uh huh, processed food!). And I would have the other half and the rest of the bag of chips for dinner followed by an ice cream treat of some sort. And on Sunday’s I would go to Macaroni Grill with my friend Michelle and have breadsticks, salad, a pasta dish & dessert! REALLY! That’s how I got started! I would also go to bed super early each day so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat at night. When I say early, I mean 7pm! So glamorous, right?

Then I went through a phase of eating Wawa chicken noodle soup with Saltines for lunch, a Zone Bar for dinner, and then I would get a baked good from Starbuck’s for a treat. I did a stint with Nutri-System too. Again processed, yet pre-portioned meals, and I would get a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough and make fresh cookies at night. So not necessarily, the “ideal” way to health. But I did go from a size 13-14 to a size 6, doing it this way!

It was not until 2010 when I decided to compete in a fitness competition, that I learned about the concept of eating clean and took my physique to another level. It was at this time that I was introduced to the importance of macronutrients, prepping, weighing, measuring, and the concept of eating small “meals” several times a day. Nothing was eliminated from my competition meal prep. I had starches, lean protein, healthy fats, veggies, fruit & dairy in my nutrition plan. Plus a weekly reward meal. And you guessed it, that included ice cream! (Maybe my coach didn’t necessarily know that, but I still ended up with killer physique!) Nothing was eliminated from my nutrition plan, until the week leading up to my show. Obviously the reward meal had to go, along with the dairy.

So it was not until just about 5 years ago that I was able to achieve a “fitness-like” physique. And since 2010, I have fluctuated in my body fat levels & leanness, and have continued to struggle with my issues surrounding food & body image. The difference is that it is not at the same scale (no pun intended) as it was in 2002. Another contributing factor is that I now consider this my lifestyle, and I am more present & mindful with my food choices. I’m not going to say that I still don’t have week long binges. Because it does still happen. I just know that I am the only one in control of what goes in my mouth & I stop to evaluate what is going on my life that I am turning to food for solace. I am the only one who can choose to see myself differently. I KNOW that I am more than my shell.

I should mention that I have been active my entire life. Even when I was at my heaviest, I still lifted weights and did cardiovascular activity. So my transformation was almost all nutrition related. Proving that 80% of the physique is diet, 10% exercise, and 10% genetics.

The attached images show where I started my journey in 2002. The photo from 2010 is my very first check-in picture prior to my competition training. And the 2014 image is the leanest I have ever been! To the present day me. So, do NOT beat yourself up if you are not where you want to be. Remember, it is a marathon NOT a sprint…if you want lasting results that is. And who doesn’t want that?!? Until next time…

Love & Light,


You asked…Post #3

“You asked…” is a blog series where I will be taking the questions you’ve asked and answering them here. The questions have been compiled from my various social media channels including my fitness Facebook page Tawny Clark, Instagram: @Tawnyclark, and tawnyclark.com.

Question #3: I recently read a post online, and it was referring to various types of protein shakes. What’s the difference between them all? It’s so confusing!

Yes. It can be a tad overwhelming when you are new to the various types of shakes that are available, but I’ll try to simplify it so it’s more easily digestible. No pun intended. Well, ok, maybe it was!

Whey Protein: is a mixture of globular proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. After milk solids coagulate, there is a clear liquid that is left over, called whey, that is 5% lactose, part mineral, part fat, and part protein — of course. Whey Protein typically contains between 70-85% protein. This protein is also rich in the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine which are essential to the production of lean muscle mass. Why use Whey Protein: It is very quickly digested in the body.  Although since it’s not very filling, you would not use this alone as a meal replacement. But perfect pre-workout.

Whey Isolate: Whey Isolate is also made from the same part of milk as whey protein is, but the difference lies in the way Whey Isolate is processed. While Whey Protein still contains lipids and lactose (read fats and sugars), Whey Isolate is designed to get rid of everything except the protein. Whey Isolate typically contains 90-98% protein, and is usually more expensive because of the intensive isolation process. Why use Whey Isolate: Again being very quickly digested in the body, but without fats and sugar, Whey Isolate is a great option post workout because whey promotes protein synthesis. And since whey isolate is easily digested, it can be taken pre-workout as well.

Whey Concentrate: Another whey protein family member, but the most cost-effective  because it requires less processing time than Whey Isolate, but still has more protein per gram than your average Whey Protein. Why use Whey Concentrate: Keeps more money in your pocket and provides you with a quick uptake of protein post workout. Again a perfect pre-meal shake as well due to the rapid digestion in the body.

Casein Protein: Unlike whey, that only accounts for 20% of the protein found in milk, Casein Protein is responsible for 80% of the protein found in dairy products. Casein Protein also digests slower than whey products, which means that it can stay in your stomach and help you feel fuller for longer. Why use Casein Protein: Research on casein has shown that the body is more inclined to use this protein source directly to build muscle mass rather than as energy. Because it takes up to 7 hours to be absorbed by the body it is ideal for before bed as it will suppress muscle breakdown. Cottage cheese is often used at this time for the same purpose.

Egg Albumin: Egg Albumin powder is simply a concentrated version of egg whites. Egg whites contain less fat and less cholesterol than their yolks. Why use Egg Albumin: Aside for the convenience of having a powder available, it saves the time of cracking and separating egg whites! But because it is not derived from dairy products, Egg Albumin is also a great alternative to milk-based proteins for those who are lactose intolerant.

Soy Protein: Soy protein is derived from the soybean that has been dehulled and defatted. These dehulled and defatted soybeans are then processed into three forms: 1. Soy flour 2. Soy concentrates 3. Soy isolates. For a time, there were a number of health claims about soy protein. Some of these claims stated that soy protein consumption helped lower bad cholesterol, prevented heart disease and even fought off some cancers. However, more recent studies have indicated that many of these health claims are not only false but that there are serious concerns with concentrated soy protein consumption. Health Concerns with Soy Protein: These concerns have to do with the phytoestrogens found in soy proteins, especially the concentrated soy proteins. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen. The concern with this is that many people today are becoming estrogen dominated and this can be potentially hazardous to our health. Much of this estrogen dominance has been attributed to plastics that contain a form of estrogen that when heated and undergo extreme temperatures leach into the foods and beverages held in the plastics. When we consume the foods we consume the plastics.  High levels of estrogen have been associated with increased risk of certain cancers in both men and women.


Hemp Protein: Hemp oil is a rich source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (aka, the “good” fats). Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. Why use Hemp Protein: Hemp proteins are similar to proteins found in the human body, which makes them easy to digest and assimilate quickly, so they serve as alternative to whey and soy proteins, which are often heavily processed. This protein is utilized for athletic recovery and muscle repair.

Brown Rice Protein: Brown Rice Protein is allergen-free, gentle, and high quality protein powder. Although rice protein contains all eight essential amino acids, it is considered incomplete because of low levels of some of the essential amino acids. And undoubtedly whey contains more protein than brown rice. Why use Brown Rice Protein: For people who would want to avoid animal-based protein, rice is a perfect choice. it often utilized by vegans for their workout and recovery.

Pea Protein: Pea protein is a good source of arginine, an amino acid your body needs to build muscle. Arginine is conditionally essential, meaning that you need more of it in times of stress or illness. You’ll get more arginine from pea protein than from other protein sources, according to an article on the FoodNavigator-USA website. Why use Pea Protein: Whether you are following a vegan diet or just trying to cut down on animal foods, pea protein will help you meet your protein needs.

Remember to read ALL nutrition labels, as there are so many brands and varieties available that you want to be sure you are buying the best quality products available. Be on the lookout for artificial colors, sweeteners, and additives that will not serve your healthy life-style needs.  Also, consider the content of the other macronutrients as well. If you are looking for a meal replacement, be sure that the product contains carbohydrate and fat in addition to the protein source. Until next time…

Love & Light,


Sources: ProteinPowders.net, Supplements-Explained.com, Livestrong.com, DrAxe.com