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,


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,



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,


My Story

I had always struggled with my weight, body image and disorderly eating from early childhood. I danced since the age of five, played soccer when I was in high school, and was a certified aerobics instructor by the time I was a senior. During my freshman year of college, I found my way to the weight room and never looked back. Unfortunately, throughout my life food had always been my source of comfort and solace. Despite being active, due to my unhealthy relationship with food, I never saw the fruits of my labor. I found myself exercising to compensate for the excessive calories from overeating. After high school, the problem progressed significantly with the stress of my course load and college life in general. I would go to convenient stores and buy a large bag of chips, pint of ice cream and whatever else I thought I “needed.” I would eat it all behind closed doors. While it all “tasted” good and comforted me in the moment, I would feel ashamed and guilty after each binge. I would tell myself I was going to start over in the morning and was never going to do it again! But then I would find myself alone after a long, difficult day in my car on my way to the convenient store again. I hated clothes shopping because nothing fit except for the size 13-14. I would make excuses as to why I couldn’t go out with friends or cancel plans because I felt so bad about myself. I was so miserable that I didn’t want to spew my venom on anyone else so I stayed home alone. And of course, this led me to food again to soothe my pain. But it wasn’t until after my first job post graduate school that I hit rock bottom. I finally gathered enough courage to leave the abusive and emotionally draining situation that had taken me to my lowest point ever. I was depressed and like previous life experiences, ate to comfort myself. After I finally got back on my feet I was the heaviest I think I’d ever been. The last time I stepped on the scale it read 164lbs. It was then that I decided enough was enough. I needed to get my life back, and the start of this healing process was losing all the weight I had gained during all this binge eating.  I started by cutting out all the junk food, reducing my portion sizes, getting adequate sleep, and doing more functional based workouts to support to my efforts. And so my weight loss journey began…

It wasn’t until I started competing in 2010 that I fully understood what it meant to “eat clean” though. My nutritional plan consisted of five to six meals including weighted or portioned sizes of lean protein at each meal paired with a healthy starch, fruits and green vegetables, and healthy fats. I lost weight while maintaining the muscle I had developed and was in the best shape of my life so I thought. But shortly following my first show, I found myself struggling with food once again. I would never keep any of my “trigger” foods in the house, but I would go out each night and buy a pint of ice cream, a jar of peanut butter, chocolate, and whatever else looked good. I would go home and eat it all. And sometimes I found that that wasn’t even enough. Again, I would feel extreme hate towards myself and guilt for my behavior. The next day I would work out extra long and hard trying to compensate for the additional calories. Then I would tell myself that I “needed” to do another show. If I had a goal, I would stay on track and wouldn’t binge anymore. But the cycle would just start again as soon as the lights went down and my show was over. I needed to stop the madness. I sought help, and I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder. I knew I had a problem with food my entire life, but never knew I was suffering from an actual eating disorder. After attending Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for over a year and half, what I really found was that it wasn’t about the food at all. Binge eating disorder is perpetuated by extreme restrictive dieting, but I was looking for another emotional need to be met by the food. It took becoming healthy in mind and body to overcome the disorder.

In addition to therapy, my life changed significantly in March of 2012 when I worked with a nutritionist. She told me I wasn’t eating enough and I was setting myself up to fail with my current plan. She worked with me to find balance. I have never been leaner, felt better, or eaten this many CARBS! I’ve also never found it so easy to maintain a finally healthy fit body 43lbs lighter. I still have my cravings for sweets which I satisfy once a week. But I AM in control and one reward meal doesn’t turn into another and another and another, finding myself in a food coma three days later. My lifestyle has undergone an amazing transformation, and it took much work, sweat, blood, and tears!  I still have my moments with the disorder though far and few between.  My point is this:  life is never going to be perfect, and the things that my past self would view as weaknesses have now become my strengths because if I didn’t experience those things I would not be who I am today. While the road hasn’t always been easy, I’ve learned that this disorder does not define who I am.  It’s molded me into the individual that I am today and has showed me how STRONG I really am.  My hope is that by sharing my story I am able to help even just one person who is struggling in silence. I want them to know that there is hope, that there is help out there, and that they WILL get better.

If you feel like you might be struggling with the same disorder, I highly recommend seeking professional help for the appropriate diagnosis. I personally, had had enough and wanted help! That’s a big piece of it. You have to WANT to change! I sought out a cognitive behavioral therapist who specialized in binge eating disorder. As this form of therapy, in addition to Interpersonal psychotherapy and Dialectical behavior therapy, are recognized as successful modes of treating this disorder. I also suggest contacting a nutritionist who has experience working with those who have binge eating disorder, and encourage relapse prevention. Another immediate resource for you, or for a supportive loved one, to learn more about the disorder is the book Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher G. Fairburn. Ironically enough, I randomly saw this book on a shelf in Barnes & Noble years before I had been diagnosed & purchased it but never read it through. And then when I began treatment, my therapist suggested getting it. Fate? I was always destined to get better!

Thank you for taking the time to read My Story. I hope it spoke to you in some way. Whether you yourself struggle with BED or some other form of disorderly eating, or you know someone else who does, perhaps you will see a glimmer of hope for your journey toward recovery. Until next time…

Love & Light,


As published in Training & Fitness Magazine June 2014






Hello. Welcome to tawnyclark.com. Thank you for joining me. I am really excited about the launch of my new website! It’s something I have always wanted do, but just never actually DID! Along with always wanting to start a blog but never taking the time to sit down and write it! I had voices of self doubt that would say things like: “What do you possibly have to say that people want to read about anyway?” Or “you’re just like the next girl…you have nothing unique to offer.” Um, WRONG!

I recently attended Lori Harder’s Bliss Project in Newport Beach, CA, and my life is forever changed! That weekend was spent with over 200 amazing women who ALL had incredible stories, dreams, and aspirations, including me! But the common thread that bound us all was the desire to learn to love ourselves completely as we are, and to serve & help others. I am so passionate about spreading awareness about binge eating disorder among the fitness community, and I am here to do just that! I know that this illness is rampant, and we just don’t talk enough about it or at all really! I was reluctant to share my story initially too. But I realized that it was my responsibility to come out of the shadows, talk about my experience, and connect with those who are also struggling. This disease has taken me to sad, isolated, lonely places, and if I can spare just one person from having to go through that…I will have served my purpose. 

So, I’ve decided to make the conscious CHOICE to stop playing those old tapes of doubt. I have replaced them with new affirmations of courage, gratitude, love & strength. And I am here to share my story.  Whether you have diagnosed Binge Eating Disorder, another form of disorderly eating, or an ongoing struggle with your weight, I know that we can rise above it together! I want to provide you with real life resolutions, tips, and tactics to move forward in your life, and share some insight into what has helped me in my recovery. We all have a past, but it does not define who we are TODAY, in this moment. We are NOT our stories. 

If there is anything specific that you would like me to address in future blogs. Please leave your comments below. Until next time…

Love & Light,