Are you reading the signs of your body correctly? How can you heal your metabolism through healthy eating after being stuck in the world of fad diets? What does a healthy dinner plate look like? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks with UCLA Sports Dietitian, Jessica Isaacs about diets sucking and shares some tips you can start implementing today!


Jessica Isaacs is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She currently is the Basketball Performance Dietitian for UCLA and also operates a private practice. Her experience battling an eating disorder was the catalyst for her career supporting athletes as they navigate fueling for sport and for life. She is passionate about cutting through the BS of diet culture and providing athletes with credible, easy to digest nutrition information and resources. Visit her website and connect on Instagram. Follow her on TikTok @jessicathesportsrd


  • Getting informed with a dietician instead of a medical doctor
  • Warning signs of a body that is struggling
  • Can you tell if you are on the right path?

Getting informed with a dietician instead of a medical doctor

Doctors do not get much nutritional education at all. At most medical universities they will maybe take a class, maybe two classes on nutrition. Unless they take the effort … to seek out more nutritional education on their own, it is really an area that is lacking in medical training. (Jessica Isaacs)
A registered dietician is someone training and learning to become an expert in nutrition. They train through a Bachelors' degree and their classes consist of subjects such as chemistry, biology, physiology, metabolism, and macro and micronutrients. After studying, they spend a year gaining experience practicing in different realms before they pick their specialty and sit for their board exam to become fully registered. Dieticians are experts at identifying what an individual needs based on their lifestyle, and they are far better trained and qualified than medical doctors in this sphere to assist people with their nutritional requirements, over and above merely staying healthy.

Warning signs of a body that is struggling

For a female athlete, Jessica Isaacs discusses that they may experience fatigue, missing periods or not having periods at all. Frequent illness or injuries, shin splints, hip pain, hair loss, cracked skin, and cold sensitivity are all signs that your body is breaking down, that something is wrong, and you need to start paying attention to it.

Can you tell if you are on the right path?

If generally, you are exercising and eating well and your weight is remaining at a constant level, that is a good thing because it means that you are adequately fueling your body for the exercise or lifestyle that you are doing or leading. However, if you are dropping weight you are not intending to drop or picking up a lot of extra weight, you may be under or over-fueling yourself. The ‘plate’ that you should dish for yourself, and the three types of foods that you should put onto it, depending on your activity level are:
  • Rest day plate: A day where you take a walk, do a yoga class. Two quarters and a half: half the plate in color, fruits or vegetables. The other half into quarters and one-quarter of this is lean proteins, fish, tofu, lean meat, and so forth. The other quarter is your grains or starches, and Jessica recommends prioritizing wholegrains.
  • Active day: A day where you perhaps work out for an hour and break a good sweat. Scale up the plate into thirds. On a more active day, you can add more grains, starches, or carbohydrates to your quarter to give your body more energy. The vegetables, protein, and grains are all in three equal parts on your plate.
  • On a hard day: for an endurance athlete that trains for more than two hours for example. Half and two quarters. Half of the plate is grains and starches, one-quarter lean protein, and one-quarter color.
If you want a more treat-like food, put it on your plate in the category it falls under. In some physical endurance circumstances, those treat foods can help you out. Keep your goal in mind; are you fueling for endurance, are you fueling for health or are you fueling for performance? Let this guide you in your decision making. Ask yourself when it comes to dieting: if they worked, why are you looking for the next one? If you cannot keep it going for the rest of your life, should you even start it? Be kind to and place focus on your body and what it asks of you. Click here for free downloadable resources.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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