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,



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

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,