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

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,



You asked…Post #2

“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

Question #2:  I’m going to the Bahamas and want to drink up since it’s hot and sunny but I know those fruity beautiful drinks are horrible for me…Suggestions?

This inquirer makes a great point. Those fruity drinks are not the best choice. They are high in sugar whether from added sugar (ie. simple syrup (which is just white sugar heated with water) that is typically added to mojitos) , fruit juices or sodas that are used as mixers. But let’s back up just for a minute so you actually know the physiology of what is happening in the body when you consume alcohol. And why it may be setting you back in your fat loss goals.

As many of us already know, not all calories are created equal. 1 gram of either carbohydrates or protein provides 4 calories of fuel. While 1 gram of fat provides 9, and alcohol provides 7 calories. The caveat being that alcohol has no nutritional value. The other macronutrients, however, provide vitamins and minerals that clearly support the body’s functionality. Alcohol also takes priority over all other food as the body’s main fuel source. So all other metabolism including that of carbohydrates or fat is halted when alcohol is added to the mix. Alcohol metabolism occurs first because if it is not removed immediately, the body could potentially become toxic. After the alcohol is metabolized, then and only then, can the body begin to metabolize our glycogen stores. And when we are no longer getting fuel from our carbohydrate stores, then fuel will be utilized from our body fat. Fat is our last resource to be utilized. And that’s not the only bad news. Alcohol metabolism which occurs in the liver requires the use of vitamins, IE. Vita C, Vita B. Of course these vitamins are also needed by the body for energy, immunity, etc. And with regular alcohol consumption, you run the risk of depleting these vitamins. That my friends is what we like to refer to as a hangover!

So, now that we got the knitty gritty out of the way. What should you choose if you choose to drink? Clear liquors with calorie free mixers. IE: vodka & club soda (not seltzer!) Or a dry wine. Not the sweet, dessert wines! And to slow your roll, I suggest drinking a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage when you aren’t having just one!

If you do have the ability to mix your own at home, or you are attending a BYOB gathering, give these alternatives a try:

Skinny Margarita:

1 can Sprite Zero
1 lime, juiced
1 single serving package of Lemonade Crystal Light
1 ounce, tequila (I recommend Patron Silver)

Mix all ingredients together, and pour over ice.

Serves 1, but can be made in large quantities. Don’t ask how I know 🙂

Skinny Blueberry Mojito:

2 ounces, Blueberry vodka
4 ounces, Sprite Zero
1 sprig of fresh mint
5-6 fresh blueberries

Muddle the mint and blueberries. Add to a shaker with vodka, and shake with 1 cup of crushed ice. Pour into a glass and top with Sprite Zero.

Serves 1, can also be made in larger quantities.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there should balance in all things. So if you are on vacation, and want 1 of those foo foo drinks. HAVE ONE!! And ENJOY it! Just make some other nutrition choices throughout the rest day to off set it. IE. Fish and fresh veggies for dinner. And forgo the starch and dessert at that meal. See, it can be done! Until next time…

Love & Light,


You asked… Post #1

“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

I started my blog by sharing my story so that you will know where I’ve been, and that I too can very much relate to your struggles. I do speak from experience, but I have an extensive education on the subject as well. My sole purpose in creating this blog, however, is to serve you. I want this to be an open forum to help you! And discuss what you will find most useful in your journey towards your happiest, healthiest version of you!

I have received a number of questions. But my first bit of advise is to tell you that any change you make in your life, whether in fitness, nutrition, career or otherwise, needs to be in bite-sized pieces. You may have 5 different aspects of your life that you want to improve such as working out 3 times per week, eliminating processed foods, or adding a mediation practice to your day. Choose just 1 of these goals, and master that before moving on to the next. It can be overwhelming and stressful to make changes in general let alone when you trying to overhaul your life in one fell swoop!

Question #1: How can I eat a well balanced dinner? It’s like I have no time because I get home around 6pm and try to go to bed by 9:30pm.

I too am an early bird. In bed by 9 or 10pm at the latest! This can be a pretty painless fix if you just take some time to prepare for your week. Here are some easy ideas. And yes, I am all about ease!

1) If you grocery shop on the weekends for your week, you might take an hour (or less) on Sunday to prep your dinners for your week.  I buy 6 chicken breast, sweet potato, and a maybe a green veggie, and bake them all at once. I pre-heat the oven to 350, line cookie sheets with aluminum foil (no washing afterwards!), spray with coconut oil, and put each item on the individual trays. All ovens will vary but, I cook the chicken for 20 minutes, flip, and cook another 10 minutes. The sweet potatoes 30 minutes, flip, and another 10 minutes. And depending the veggie, ie broccoli, cook, 10 minutes, flip, and cook another 10 minutes or so. Dinner’s done for the week!

2) The Crock Pot can a be lifesaver for times like these. You have the options of cooking everything on a Sunday during prep, or you can have a fresh meal for when you get home in the evening if you throw everything in when you leave in the morning. If I prep on a Sunday, I put in 6 chicken breast, 1 can of salsa, and 1 small can of low-sodium tomato sauce. Set on low about 6 hours, and viola! Top the chicken on a salad, or Ezekial corn tortilla for taco night! Or you can have a fresh meal every night! Check out the these 7 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes from

3) Breakfast for Dinner! Read: 5-minute Meal! My go-to evening meal as of late is an omelet. I whip 1 whole egg, 3/4c egg whites, and a dash water until frothy. Pour into a hot skillet covered with non-stick spray. Once the top is set, I add 1/4c cheddar cheese, and baby spinach (but combinations are endless! Feta, tomatoes & spinach, Mushroom, onion & cheddar, Peppers, onions & salsa). Flip one half over the other half, and cover so the cheese can melt. Turn out onto a plate, and enjoy! If I still need a starch for the day, I have a banana for dessert-like treat!

I hope you found these few tips to be useful to ensuring you getting in a healthy dinner even when life gets in the way. If you have a question that you would like to see discussed, please comment below. 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 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,