Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers Coming Soon…..


  1. elletar says:

    So I see ur daily cals are around 2000 a day or so were they alwlays tht since u started the clean eating thing? I’m currently around 1500 cals a day and I was getting pretty lean before my vaca in April but since getting back seems like I can’t get back to tht look and am confused on how to play around food to acheive the lean muscle look I’m aiming for…idk if this makes sense but basically I’m asking can I follow ur meal pretty close and lean out or do I need to keep it at 1500 or so.. I’m currently 123 lbs 5’1 and 27 years old. Would like to be around 118 or 115 and more importanly less body fat I think I’m currently at like 23% but every time I measure it online another number comes up…

    • Hey there! I am 5’8″ and around 145 lbs or so, so my daily calories are probably going to be slightly higher than yours are. Do you by chance have a heart rate monitor? I got the Polar FT40 from and I love it! I wore the heart rate monitor on a rest day to gauge how many calories I am burning in a typical 24-hour period. This is the base amount of calories I want to eat to maintain my current weight. For me, it was around 1850. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor here is a good rule of thumb to use:

      To maintain take your current body weight x 10 + 300 calories. This will be your base amount of calories to eat on rest days.
      To lose – subtract 250-500 calories from the base number
      To gain – add 250-500 calories from the base number.

      I like to keep my macros at 40/40/20 (40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats).
      Then, on workout days I eat back the calories I burned in my workout. I know that seems counter-productive, but I have seen better muscle gains since doing this, have still stayed lean, and I don’t feel so hungry either. So, for example, if I burned 500 calories in my workout I would eat 250 cals (usually a protein shake with oat flour) right before my workout and 250 cals immediately post workout.

      I hope that helps!!

      • Do you space your meals out evenly or have more at lunch and dinner?

      • Ginee Scarbrough says:

        that is the most simple way of putting it all. I have been learning about working out and food for about 2 years and still cant get the food part down. It is a lot to reteach yourself. Thanks for this.

  2. Samantha says:

    Hi Natalie

    You mentioned somewhere (I can’t remember where) what you use as substitutions in order to make a recipe clean. For example, what would you use in place of butter etc? If you wouldn’t mind, would you please share what your substitutions are and what the ratios would be? Do you have a clean substitution for baking powder? Thanks so much.

  3. Katrina says:

    Hello Natalie–
    I saw that you keep your ratios at 40/40/20. Is that for a full day or for each meal/snack? And also, how do I know how many grams of protein is right for “my” body? Is there a formula for that as well? I have started using the myfitnesspal app, which is very helpful, but I’m also a little confused on some parts. According to it, I am consuming way too much protein, yet I don’t feel like I’m consuming that much. I use portion control, weigh my lean meats on a kitchen scale, etc. So just looking for a little guidance. Thank you so much!!

    • Hey Katrina! Sorry for the late response, so if you have already gotten this answered I apologize for the repeat. I do 40/40/20 for the day. Not every meal will work out that way, and I usually eat more of my starchy carbs in the morning and taper them off around 3-6pm. Hope that helps!

  4. Katrina says:

    Also, I used the formula you posted on your above comment for losing weight. It shows I should consume 2,250 calories in order to lose. But myfitnesspal says I should not exceed 1,510 calories. That’s a huge difference! What are your thoughts on this? BTW, on days that I don’t workout, I have a very difficult time of reaching the recommended 1,200 calories per day minimum! When you’re eating healthy and clean it is sometimes difficult to consume all of those calories.

  5. brandygeiman says:

    Hello Natalie. I am VERY new at trying to eat clean. I have a lot of weight I need to lose & I want to be healthier. I’m not really sure where to start. I am 5’9” and around 198lbs. My biggest obstacle is my job. I drive a tractor trailer and live in my truck. I’m sure you can imagine the food that is available at the truck stops. It’s not good to say the least. I tried to keep fresh food on the truck with coolers and ice but it didn’t turn out well. I was thinking about dehydrating fruits and vegetables, but I don’t know. I am looking for any advice. Thank you

    • Hey Brandy! I have some good friends who are pharmaceutical sales reps who face very similar challenges. They pack their meals and keep them in a cooler with them in their cars. I know the Six Pack Bags ( are really helpful for people who travel often. Remember to keep in mind baby steps. Start with one small goal and work your way up from there. I am proud of you for starting!!! Keep me posted on your progress :)

  6. determinedtob says:

    Hi Natalie!

    I am currently on week 9 of the LiveFit trainer…what did you do after the 12 weeks? I don’t want to re-do the same plan. I’m at a good size, just really need to tweak my eating and lose just a few more inches overall.


    • Hey there! I actually repeated the LiveFit trainer twice and then after that I did James Wilson’s 12-week trainer. Both are great and I had great results from both! They are very similar in their approach. James’ program costs $50 which is less than $1 a workout. You can find more about his program on his Facebook page:

  7. Hi Natalie-
    I am getting ready for a week long camping trip next week and I think I remember seeing you say something about coming up with a resistance band workout while you were camping/fishing. I was wondering if you posted that anywhere or if I could get it from you. I would much rather try and squeeze in a little resistance training while im gone because I will be doing a lot of hiking and other activities for my cardio. Thanks for your help!

  8. hello natalie

  9. Nancy Williams says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I just found your website. I am 5’5″ and weigh 170 pounds. I just don’t know where to start. What did you do? Did you follow a specific plan?

    Thanks for any help or advice,

    • Hey Nancy! I learned so much when I did Jamie Eason’s 12-week trainer. It is a free training program on (don’t worry – you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to follow the program) :) It taught me so much about eating properly and training properly to get that nice toned look. I would start with (they have quite a few free trainers) and also check out Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean Diet” cookbook – she breaks down so many of the basics and essentials – it’s a great place to start!

  10. Hi Natalie!

    I love your story and you are such an inspiration. I completed Jamie’s program and now I am doing her other program The Fat Burner. One thing I don’t understand is whether I would want to stay at my current weight, or gain weight. I am 5’6″ / 123 lbs. According to I should be eating around 1500 cals. I saw you eat your workout cals you burn and I thought that is what I was supposed to do too, but I’ve also seen when leaning down and burning more fat I shouldn’t do that. I just cannot figure out and here is what my actual question is lol, “Should I stay at 1500 cals and not eat more even when working out throughout the 8 weeks or should I eat more on workout days?”

    Thanks for any feedback :)

  11. Shannon smith says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I have been trying to eat clean and I have been diligent with my exercise for awhile, however, my caloric intake and macro balance has always been a tough tango for me. I took your advice and work my Polar FT4 monitor for 24 hours on a non-workout day. I burned 2500 calories! I am 5’4″ and currently caught at a pesky plateau weight of 140. So this would put my base caloric intake at roughly 2000 to lose weight ( on the low side) and then to eat back my calories burned during my workout that would put me roughly at 2250. Does this sound too high?

  12. Fiirst of all, I want to thank you for all the resources and information you offer. i found Jamie E. through her turkey muffin recipe and you through her…together you’ve both helped push and guide this change i decided to pursue, so thank you again! i’m currently in phase 2 of livefit, first time through. i’ll be honest and say prior to that i definitely was hard cardio, low calorie – to an unhealthy extreme. i’ve learned and continue to learn so much as i continue along. i definitely struggle with how much i’m “supposed” to eat and constantly second guess calories, partly because of my history and partly because i feel like there are so many conflicting arguments or suggestions for the best way to eat. i’m 5’9″ and hover between 143 and 150 right now (i don’t do daily weights, i noticed it didn’t help with the eating issue). my biggest question is carbs and fat eaten at the same time – is it good or bad? i’ve found some that say don’t eat them together because it will be stored as fat right away and others that say it doesn’t matter as long as you’re taking in quality calories and working them off. i’ve thrown out all the “bad” food and switched to whole and unprocessed, i love nuts and nut butters though (along with avocadoes, etc.) now i’m just confused on how/when to incorporate them into my meals. any suggestions? thanks!

  13. Mandy Casey says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I am 33 and have 2 babies my youngest is 2. My body looks about like your 4 month post baby pic. I have Jamie’s 12 wk program and I started it but struggle w diet part. I’m very visual and have a hard time mixing things up I need daily meal plans laid out to follow and my husband likes to eat out a lot when he is home from work for 2 wks and I struggle with what to do there. Do you have any suggestions?


  14. Hi Natalie!
    Congrats on the new baby! I was wondering if you take any supplements, vitamins, or pre-workout drinks? Also, what protein powder do you use? Even when I get into a good workout routine, I still feel tired or crash at the end of the day. Any suggestions?


    • Natalie says:

      Hi Tina! When I was pregnant (and now that I am nursing) I was just taking a whole food prenatal vitamin (found at my local health food store) and MRM brand Smartblend capsules (for omega 3, etc). I really limit my supplements when I am nursing and pregnant, but I would also do protein powder on occasion. I talked with my doctor about it and he said that as long as it wasn’t my only source of protein I could have one serving per day. I prefer protein powders without sucralose (aka splenda) and like to use ones sweetened with Stevia so I stick with MRM brand or Only Protein brand. I think MRM tastes better than Only Protein but OP has higher quality ingredients. I don’t really like to use pre-workouts because I get concerned about fatiguing my adrenal system, although I will take them on occasion if I am really dragging (I don’t use when nursing or pregnant though). I like the taste of the MusclePharm raspberry lemonade Assault, but like I said, I rarely use it. Before I was pregnant I used it maybe 1x a month, if that.

      Jamie Eason has a really good stack on that bundles together most of what I use for a good price. This is what I usually order:

      As far as crashing at the end of the day, I know this probably isn’t the answer you are looking for, but I just try to focus on getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking enough water throughout the day, and getting my meals in every 3 hours and that seems to work for me. Sleep seems to be the easiest thing to overlook but when you are trying to tone up it is really important that you are getting proper sleep for your body to build muscle.

      Hope that helps!

  15. Logston says:

    I just started eating clean 2 weeks ago, thanks to you! I’m so glad I found your website. I was wondering if corn & cucumbers are clean? Thanks so much for your help!


    • Natalie says:

      Hey Erin! That is so awesome I am so happy for you! Any vegetable is considered a clean food and you can eat pretty much as many as you want :) I do, however, tend to limit my corn because most corn is genetically modified unless you get it from a local farmer and ask if it’s a heirloom varietal.

  16. Chivonne says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I am really interested in doing Jamie Eason’s program and do all my workouts at home. Is this possible with that program? And how long do the workouts take?

  17. Hi Natalie, I noticed there’s pretty much no fruit in your diet. Is this the norm? I know fruits contain a fair amount of natural sugars, though a lot of them have many added benefits and if eaten in moderation, would it throw the 40 40 20 rule for a loop? Do you supplement with something in place of fruits or find you don’t need them for a balanced diet? I’ve seen different fruit & veggie powder drink supplements, wondering if its necessary. I’m currently doing the Jaime Eason live fit program and am in week 2 and am so thankful I stumbled upon your website through searching for 40 40 20 meal plans, there’s so much insight on here and awesome recipes! Jaime has fruits on her approved list of foods but it’s not really incorporated anywhere into her meal plan outline, just that she says to limit berries to the morning and have a banana pre workout or an apple if you hit a slump during your workout… so, your thoughts on fruits please!

  18. Hi natalie, I want to enter a local bb competion that is in 6 weeks. Is thag enough time to lean down? Thanks also do have any tips on how to kick a seroius chocolate addiction?

  19. I have my fitness pal app and would like to add you on there so I can get ideas for healthy dinner / lunches. How do I go about doing that bc I can’t find you?

  20. Hi! I recently started following your blog, and your Facebook page…you are such an inspiration to moms who want to look and feel their best! I just started on Jamie Eason’s 12 week trainer. I work out at night, from 6-7 or 6:30-7:30, so I was wondering if I should eat my dinner before workouts? I used to eat dinner when I got home, but with her rule of “no starches after 7″, I’m trying to figure out how to stick with the diet and eating every three hours, without feeling really full when working out. Right now I’m eating 5 meals: 7:30, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30. Any suggestions? Should I change my times up? Thanks so much!

  21. Hi Natalie!

    I have recently started following your journey and I find you super inspiring and motivating! I had my last baby in June of this year, and I am EBF. I am trying to lose the baby weight as well as gain muscle mass. I am going to start the Jamie Eason Livefit but I want to make sure that I am doing it correctly so that I don’t mess up my milk supply. I remember reading somewhere that you didn’t do the carb cycling? What did you do instead? Do you add calories to your diet for the breastfeeding? And if so, how much do you add? I find different information everywhere I look. I have been eating clean for the last 8 weeks and my milk supply has been fine, but I am starting to think that I actually might not be eating enough calories. I, like you, gain a LOT of weight with my pregnancies and I have big goals for myself now that I am done having kids! Any help with this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  22. Catherine says:

    I am wondering how you know you are acting a 40/40/20 diet? Does the 40/40/20 correspond to weight of food? I am confused as to how you accurately measure/ know you are eating 40/40/20??

  23. Hi Natalie! I am a new mom my baby is 2 months old, I am exclusively breastfeeding. I stayed very active before and during my pregnancy but I am wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing with me some workouts that you did after pregnancy to start out with and also, how many calories you would consume a day. I am at my pre pregnancy weight but would like to lose some more weight without affecting breastfeeding. To maintain my weight I should consume 1600 calories a day. Do you have any tips on how I can safely lose .5-1 lb per wk? Thanks! :)

  24. Awesome post.

  25. Hi Natalie,
    For the past two years, I have been struggling with loosing 60 pounds. After the birth of my son, now two..and 38 years old…I am finding that it is 10x harder to loose the weight. I do great for a couple of weeks…get frustrated…and give up. The thing is, I HATE veggies!! My entire life, I’ve tried them…but I just can not eat them. I am a VERY, VERY picky eater. When eating healthy, I grow very tired of eating eggs, chicken and tuna every day because I do not have the variation of veggies to spruce up my menu. Do you, or anyone you know, have any advice on how I can make this lifestyle change work, while hating veggies? I am so tired of being overweight! Thanks so much!

  26. Hi Natalie:

    I’m wondering when people say they “lift heavy” what exactly that means, specifically, in terms of how much weight is considered heavy (in terms of free weights). I understand that it will vary per person, of course, but are there any general guidelines for just for toning up? I’m pretty sure that my 8 pound weights aren’t adequately getting the job done! Can you share the weight that you lift when performing exercises with free weights? I’m just looking for general guidelines to increase the intensity of my weight training. Thanks in advance for any insight you may be able to offer!


  27. Natalie,
    I’ve recently become obsessed with you–not in a weird way! but am amazed at your results and I just relate to everything you are saying. Something I really struggle with is eating junk as a comfort and emotional eating. Do you have any tips for this?

  28. Natalie
    I am about to go back to work after being off on maternity leave. Before having my baby I would have a GNC Total Lean protein shake for breakfast. The way my schedule works I get up about. 4:15, work starts at 5:30,
    I’m normally able to have a few min break around 8 and then lunch is usallu 11-1130 and then I’m off at 2. Is that a good drink to have either before work or my 8 o’clock break? I need something at either time that I have either pre made and can heat up if need or is store bought pre made that I can grab on the go. Thanks!


  29. Please answer some questions above :) I am also interested in what your workout plan is. There is a link above you recommend but it is not working anymore :( THANK YOU!

  30. Hi Natalie:

    I have been looking for a good sports bra that offers good support and feels comfortable. I run on a treadmill and do other types of cardio in my routine that may involve jumping After three kids my body has changed so I need a bra that can keep my “spirit” lifted and in place during exercise. I always wear a shirt when I exercise, so it does not necessarily have to be pretty, but it definitely helps. Any suggestions?

  31. I love following workout routines so I know what I am doing when I go to the gym. I am struggling to find a good routine to follow while pregnant (just recently found out). Did you have a routine you followed during your pregnancy that I could use? Thank you!!

  32. Hi Natalie, I just came upon your Facebook page and was inspired. I’m new to this and was doing Insanity but didn’t manage to finish the 60 days (had to go on a trip). I’m 5″2 / 120 lbs. I would like to lose some and tone up, basically lean and lower body fat. I’m really needing advice on the diet part and workout part. Is there a simple meal plan that I can follow for everyday and workout that I can follow too? I know that lifting weights is great but I’ve never been into a gym and I’m overwhelmed by the equipment and don’t really know what’s what and if I should pay money to have a personal trainer coach me. I need some guidance and advice. Please help! I know that it is what you eat and maybe only 20% is really the workout part.thanks a bunch in advance!

  33. I’m a mother of 2, I have a 3 and a 1 year old and I’m struggling with a pooch and wanted some advice on how to get rid of it. I’ve been working out consistently for 8 months with great results except my abs. Standing up, it looks like I have somewhat toned abs but when I do floor exercises my stomach bunches up in pooch. Does that go away! Did you have that problem and do most women have it after pregnancy? I really noticed it more after my second child. I know I’m missing the clean eating so I’m hoping that will banish it. Please help, thank you!

  34. Elisha Snowden says:

    Hey Natalie! First of all, I LOVE your site! I’m just starting my journey in learning to eat clean and lift weights, and you are honestly my biggest inspiration, so thank you! I have a silly question for you… How do you handle cravings for carbs, ect when it’s “that time of the month”? I did read your post about how to handle sugar cravings, and I feel like most of the time I can plan my meals and have pretty decent self control, but one week a month I literally feel like I want to eat each meal like it will be my last! Thanks for your help and thanks again for all that you do!

  35. Kristin Castaneda says:

    Hi Natalie, I have been following iifym – i think if you are consistent with it you can see results – it’s just difficult for me to track numbers on a consistent basis.. however, the science behind it seems to be the best, most direct way to reach body composition goals.. my question is how can you build muscle without counting macros? Also I’m curious what your thoughts are on bulking and cutting calories? I’m confused on what’s the best way for me. Curious how everything fits together..

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