Episode 75: Where Are My Keys? How to Deal With Brain Fog in Perimenopause and Beyond

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss how brain fog can be impacted by: stress, nutrient deficiencies, lack of sleep, hormone changes with perimenopause and more. For your brain, it’s definitely a case of use it or lose it! Listen in to discover the causes of brain fog and what to do about it using mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, supplements, herbs and exercise, dark chocolate and caffeine (in moderation!). If you constantly forget where you put your keys or what your were going to say or do; then this episode is for you!

What is Brain Fog?

  • Cloudy mental thinking
  • Difficulty with focus or memory
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Difficulty to memorize new information

It is never normal to have brain fog at any age!

3 Things Every Brain Needs:

  • Oxygen
  • Fuel – Glucose or Ketones
  • Stimulation

Symptoms of Poor Circulation and Blood Flow to Your Brain:

  • Low brain endurance, poor focus and concentration 
  • Must exercise or drink coffee to improve brain function
  • Cold hands and feet, especially if you must wear socks at night
  • Cold tip of nose

Brain fog can be a symptom of neuroinflammation, in addition to :

  • Unclear thoughts
  • Low brain endurance with brain fatigue
  • Slow and varied mental speeds

What could be causing your brain fog?

  • Stress, Overwhelm, Multi-tasking, Worry, Distraction
    • Can result in elevated cortisol stress hormone and adrenal gland dysregulation, for more info see Episode 24
  • Hormone imbalance
    • Estrogen impacts serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine receptors in women
    • Low estrogen increases brain inflammation and degeneration
    • Thyroid hormones impact all neurotransmitter receptors – for more info see Episode 42
  • Fatigue and inadequate sleep –  for more info see Episode 73 
    • Glymphatic system supports brain repair during sleep
  • Blood Sugar Imbalances – for more info see Episode 45
    • Elevated blood sugar can promote inflammation and damage to your brain cells
  • Leaky gut and microbiome imbalance – for more info see Episode 8
  • Food sensitivities and allergies, including gluten
  • Medication side effects including antihistamines, medications for blood pressure, anxiety and sleep, painkillers, and some antibiotics
  • Excess alcohol intake
  • Chronic environmental toxic exposure – for more info see Episode 65
    • solvents (eg. exhaust, pollution, fragrances)
    • heavy metals like lead and mercury
  • Physical trauma including concussion 
  • Nutrient deficiencies
    • Essential fatty acids – omega 3 
    • B vitamins, especially low B12 and folate can cause elevated homocysteine
    • Protein for neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes
    • Flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity
  • Infections, including Candida overgrowth, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) and Lyme
  • Other conditions like migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia

How does the keto diet impact your brain health?

Ketone bodies are made by your liver from fatty acids in your diet or body fat. These ketones are released into your bloodstream, taken up by your brain and other organs, shuttled into the “energy factory” mitochondria and used up as fuel. 

Beta-hydroxybutrate (a major ketone) may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose for your brain, providing more energy per unit oxygen used. A ketogenic diet can also increase the number of mitochondria in your brain cells to produce more energy.

Lab Tests to Consider to Determine the Root Cause of Your Brain Fog:

Blood work such as blood sugar tests, thyroid panel, homocysteine, MMA for vitamin B12 status

Comprehensive Stool Analysis or SIBO breath test

DUTCH for hormones, melatonin, oxidative stress

Urine and blood heavy metal testing

Natural Support to Consider for Improving Your Brain Fog:

  • Adequate sleep
  • Exercise and movement breaks 
    • Walk around the block
    • Jumping jacks in bathroom
    • Dance party
  • Be mindful and avoid multi-tasking
  • Calming activities like meditation, deep breathing
    • Nose breathing; breath of fire – support nitrous oxide, blood flow and circulation 
  • Enjoy caffeine in moderation – green tea is ideal for l-theanine plus antioxidant catechins
  • Stay hydrated with plenty of filtered water
  • Nutrition: 
    • Reduce sugar, processed foods
    • Enjoy more fatty fish, nuts, seeds, more vegetables especially beets, beet juice beet root
    • Spices: rosemary, sage, oregano, curcumin, garlic
  • Nutrient and herbal supplements:
    • Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom
    • Bacopa, ginkgo
    • Turmeric (curcumin)
    • Fish oil
    • Mitochondrial support like CoQ10, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl L carnitine
  • Bulletproof coffee with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil
  • Essential oils like citrus (orange, grapefruit, lemon), lavender, rose
  • Acupuncture to support blood flow, stress reduction
  • Bodywork like physiotherapy, osteopathy

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her 80% dark chocolate after lunch for an antioxidant boost and her mid-morning decaf coffee with collagen, MCT oil and some sea salt

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Martin’s crispy apple chips from Costco for a healthy snack at the end of a meal or on its own.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Sign up for Dr. Lisa’s free sleep webinar on Monday, June 7th at 8:00pm to discover how to use Naturopathic Medicine, essential oils, yoga, meditation, osteopathy and massage to get those zzz…s!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 74: The Allergic Triad: How to Deal With Allergies, Asthma and Eczema in Moms and Kids

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the atopic triad of allergy, asthma and eczema that both perimenopausal moms and their kids can experience. Find out what you can do to prevent and treat these inflammatory issues today. We also uncover why hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause can trigger things such as hives.

What is an allergy?

Hypersensitivity disorder of your immune system, where you react to normally harmless substances in the environment that most people won’t react to.

Allergic symptoms include:

Itchy, watery, red eyes

Runny nose


Headache or pressure in sinuses

Itchy throat

Postnasal drip

Constant clearing of throat

More serious symptoms include:

Eczema – inflammatory skin condition

Asthma – immune reactivity and inflammation in airways causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath

Hives and anaphylaxis

The prevalence of allergic symptoms is increasing!

Allergic rhinitis, including runny nose, dark circles under eyes and throat clearing, affects as many as 40% of kids in US

CDC reported food allergies increased by 18% in US since 1990s

Eczema affects about 1 in 5 kids in US, with rates tripled in past 3 decades

Asthma affects at least 1 in 8 kids in US, with rates tripled between 1980 and 2008

Increased immune system reactivity causes may include:

  1. Hygiene Hypothesis or Microbiome Disruption
    • Your immune system needs to learn to respond to components in dirt and soil
    • Babies born by C section are 5x more likely to develop allergies than vaginal birth, since they are not exposed to mom’s vaginal microbiome
    • Also influenced with breastfeeding
    • Good bacteria are needed for “oral tolerance” and immune tolerance, so you are less reactive to foods and environmental allergens
    • Reduced gut flora diversity linked with increased risk of eczema, damage to gut lining allows foreign particles to trigger more immune reactions since more than half of your immune system is found along your gut – see Episode 8
    • Germ phobia can make kids more allergic
  2. Insufficient micronutrient and antioxidant intake
  3. Environmental pollution and compromised liver detoxification pathways 
    • Liver filters all the blood in the body from the digestive system and removes toxins, allergens, hormones, chemicals, drugs, etc.
    • Your liver contains the Reticuloendothelial System (RES) containing immune cells that remove antigens from the digestive system
    • If overworked with high levels of chemicals and pollution, your liver will not be able to remove allergens appropriately – see Episode 33
  4. Stress and adrenal function
    • Adrenal glands produce stress hormone cortisol, which is needed for an appropriate immune response
    • If overstressed or burnt out, you produce less cortisol resulting in more inflammation – for more info, see Episode 24
  5. Genetics
    • Can be modified by environmental factors
    • Just because your parents suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to!

Immune system balance is like a teeter-totter or see-saw 

Th1 vs.Th2 response 

  • Infants born with an allergic tendency and proper amounts of beneficial bacteria or microbiome supports more balance away from allergy while preventing autoimmunity

For example:

Research has shown that children in Estonia are less allergic than those in Switzerland and Estonian children have higher numbers of good bacteria in their intestines

Components of the Allergic Response include:

Allergens are also called antigens, like food, animal hair, insects, pollen, mold, dust, trees, chemicals, drugs, dyes, detergents, additives, etc.

Antigen binds to IgE antibody receptors on immune cells called mast cells, which triggers the release of inflammatory substances including prostaglandins and histamine 

Histamine acts in many areas in the body causing:

  • Vasodilation – swelling, redness, inflammation
  • Skin – itching, swelling, redness, hives
  • Nose – runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion
  • Eyes –watery
  • Lungs – congestion, bronchoconstriction of airways, difficult to breathe
  • Digestive System inflammation

Conventional medical treatment for allergies, asthma and eczema include:

  • Antihistamines – blocks action of histamine
  • Steroids (Inhaled, oral, topical cream) – suppresses the overactive immune response
  • Decongestants – reduces congestion 
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine) – blocks action of histamine
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) – dilates the airways, makes breathing easier
  • Immunotherapy – small doses of allergens are injected below the skin or taken under the tongue to desensitize the immune system

Nutritional Factors that Increase Allergic Symptoms

  • Mucous-producing foods including dairy, gluten, sugar, bananas, processed foods, fried foods
  • Pro-Inflammatory foods can include:
    • Dairy, gluten, red meat, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, oranges, grapefruit, soy, shellfish, sugar, processed foods, pork, corn, eggs
  • Histamine-containing foods:
  • Deli meats, aged cheeses, fermented foods, canned fish, shellfish, avocado, citrus, tomatoes, alcohol, dried fruits, smoked meat/fish, 
  • Foods high in omega-6 increases inflammation and the allergic response – vegetable oils, soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower
    • Ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be 4:1; Western diet ratio is 10:1!
    • In Japan, with westernization of diet (less fish and omega-3), saw increase in allergies
    • Can balance with more omega 3 from algae or fish source (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon), as well as omega 6 GLA found in evening primrose, borage, hemp
  • Deficiencies in:
    • Omega-3 
    • B vitamins
      • Vitamin B6 – found in tuna, calf liver, chicken, salmon, turkey, potatoes, cod, sunflower seeds, halibut
      • Vitamin B12 – found in calf liver, sardines, salmon, beef, lamb, halibut, scallops, yogurt
    • Magnesium – found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds
    • Zinc – found in oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts like cashews and almonds
    • Vitamin C – found in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kiwi, cauliflower, kale, parsley, lemons, limes, spinach, snow peas, and rose hip tea
    • Vitamin D – found in small amounts in eggs, milk, best made with UV exposure to skin
    • Vitamin E – sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, papaya
    • Vitamin A – found in two forms:
  • Retinol – active form of vitamin A, found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods
  • Carotenoids –  can turn into active form of vitamin A, found in plant foods like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes

Why Does Perimenopause Cause More Skin Itching and Hives?

Estrogen plays an important role in your skin health, impacting the microbiome of your mouth, gut and skin. Microbiome changes related to menopause may increase intestinal permeability, which increases the likelihood of having food reactions and atopic dermatitis. 

Hives, also called chronic urticaria, are about twice as common in women as in men and may be associated with hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pill or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Your sex hormones can modulate immune and inflammatory cell functions, including mast cell secretion of histamine. 

One study suggests that patients with chronic urticaria have lower levels of serum DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), an adrenal hormone that tends to decline with age. Stress is commonly elevated during perimenopause, leading to high output of cortisol and adrenaline which are frequently associated with hives.

Lab testing you can consider:

Serum hormone testing or DUTCH/CHI urine hormone testing

IgG food sensitivity testing

Micronutrient testing – vitamin D, specialized labs for zinc, vitamin A, omega 3 

Comprehensive stool testing for microbiome balance and gut health

Prevention and Treatment to Consider for Allergies, Asthma and Eczema:

  • Support stress management and adrenal glands
    • Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stimulants
    • Stress-relieving techniques including sleep support and routine
    • B vitamins, Vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs
  • Increase air quality
    • HEPA filter (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, vacuum cleaner)
    • Avoid carpeting
    • Regular dusting and vacuuming
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe regularly
  • Sinus rinse or Nasal Lavage
    • Neti Pot or Nevage
    • Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil
    • Blow your nose regularly
  • Support gut health with probiotics and fermented food
    • Avoid antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs
    • Use filtered water to remove chlorine
  • Nutrition
    • Avoid inflammatory and histamine increasing foods
    • Avoid food allergies and sensitivities
    • Increase foods with nutrients important for immune function, including flavonoids  – see Episode 39 for more info on nutrients to support immune activity for viruses
      • Pomegranate, tomatoes, bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, sweet cherry, apples, apricots, pears, raspberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, watercress, green tea, grape skin
    • Consider regular intake of local honey to decrease immune sensitivity to environment
  • Supplements to consider:
    • Urtica dioica (nettles), Ribes nigrum (black currant), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Pine bark extract, Flavonoids including quercetin
    • Homeopathic Remedies
    • Homeopathic Immunotherapy
  • Topical treatments for eczema can include moisturizing oils like coconut, shea, jojoba (anything except olive), oat baths, calendula

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves roasted beets and beet root powder to provide natural sweetness and extra liver support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of having moisturizing lotion and creams for hands and body handy. She likes Baby Bum fragrance free every day lotion with shea butter and Rocky Mountain soap company omega 3 vanilla coconut hand cream.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

On Monday, June 7th, at 8:00pm, join Dr. Lisa and three other health care practitioners for their free webinar to learn how to get the best sleep of your life using naturopathic medicine, yoga, meditation, essential oils, massage, and osteopathy. Sign up HERE and feel free to share with your friends/family members/contacts.

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Intestinal Health

Infancy –most crucial time to give probiotics 

Episode 73: Why Can’t I Sleep?

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni provide some updated info you need to know about sleep, especially if your sleep has been impacted by perimenopause and the pandemic. Want to stop gaining weight and craving carbs and sugar? Want more energy and better moods? Want to lower your risk of cancer, dementia and diabetes? Don’t wait to sleep when you’re dead!

Did you know?

2/3 of people in developed nations fail to sleep at least 8 hours a night!

Why do you need to get a good night’s sleep?

Research shows that the less sleep you get, the shorter your life.

You can’t make up for a poor night’s sleep by sleeping more the next night. 

As you age, your sleep can be more fragile and sensitive than when you’re younger.

Insufficient or poor sleep can:

  • Double your risk of cardiovascular disease
    • 24% increase in heart attacks after lose an hour with daylight savings time change in spring 
  • Make otherwise healthy people appear prediabetic on blood tests (even just after a few nights of poor sleep)
  • Contribute to weight gain
    • crave more simple carbs and sugar
    • insulin increases, can lead to insulin resistance
    • it takes 40% longer to regulate your blood sugar after a high carb meal
    • lowers leptin and increases ghrelin, impacting your appetite
    • 4-5 hours of sleep a night can increase daily calorie intake by 300 and contribute to gaining an extra 10-15 pounds over a year
  • Reduce your cognition or ability to think and problem solve
  • Put your body in fight or flight mode
    • cortisol increases which can make it more difficult to sleep, can become a vicious cycle due to overactivity of stress response pathway in brain
  • Double your risk of getting cancer when you get less than 6 hours sleep a night
  • Make you more likely to catch viruses such as the common cold
  • Cause your amygdala to be more activated, so you are more emotionally reactive
  • Reduce the work of your glymphatic system to clear out amyloid plaques and prevent dementia
    • even after 1 night of 4 hours sleep, more amyloid plaque in your brain is possible
  • Cause more accidents from drowsy driving than drugs and alcohol
    • Less than 5 hours sleep makes you 3 times more likely to crash your car

What can you do if your sleep is interrupted?

There is a time and a place for napping for sleep deprived moms. 

A research study by NASA in 1990s showed that even 26 min naps increased alertness by 50% and increased performance on a task by 34%

What is a good night’s sleep?

  • Adults: 7 to 9 hours a night 
    • Total sleep time, not just your time in bed
  • Fall asleep within 20 minutes
  • Wake up zero to several times a night with the ability to fall back asleep easily
  • Wake before alarm
  • Optimal bedtime depends on which chronotype you are
    • 40% of people are morning types or morning larks
    • 30% are evening types or night owls
    • 30% fall somewhere in between

Signs you are not getting enough sleep:

1. After waking up in the morning, could you fall back asleep at 10 or 11 am?

2. Can you function optimally without caffeine before noon?

3. Do you need your alarm to wake up?

What controls sleep?

  • Circadian clock: your inner time-keeper, which is temperature and enzyme dependent
    • Cortisol – regulates metabolism, blood sugar and inflammation
      1. supports memory, salt/water balance, blood pressure, immune response and more
      2. Helps body respond to stress
    • Melatonin – made in pineal gland
      1. Darkness triggers release
      2. Daylight stops release
      3. Supports sleep and detoxification
      4. Promotes bone health and immunity
      5. Antioxidant and potential cancer-protective effects
      6. Can influence reproduction and hormones
  • Adenosine – inhibitory neurotransmitter that inhibits the bodily processes associated with wakefulness
    • Adenosine exerts sleep pressure by accumulating in your bloodstream when you’re awake which makes you sleepy
    • As we sleep, we breakdown adenosine via an enzyme and your brain’s rate of adenosine metabolism determines the quality of your deep sleep
    • Caffeine – from green or black tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks – Stimulates you  by blocking adenosine binding to receptors so you can’t fall asleep or get into deep sleep
    • This reduction in adenosine activity leads to increased activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate
  • Lowered body temperature
    • Your body temperature must fall by 1 degree C to trigger and support sleep

Sleeping pills:  

  • Act as a sedative, not producing true sleep
  • Doesn’t allow your brain to consolidate memories like regular sleep does
  • Associated with increased cancer risk when you use more than 3 times over one year


  • THC acts as a sedative, not producing true sleep
  • Can create rebound insomnia if you stop
  • Can create dependence and paranoia
  • CBD may help your sleep without negative effects of THC

What can cause you to have a poor sleep?

External causes like:

  • Blue light
  • Sounds and movements from your kids, pets, partners, neighbours
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Stimulants like caffeine
  • Alcohol and certain medications

Internal causes like:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Sleep apnea and snoring
  • Pain
  • Urinary problems
  • Skin rashes or itchy skin
  • Hot flashes

Lab tests and investigations you need to consider:

  • DUTCH for melatonin, cortisol and other hormones
  • Snoring: food sensitivities, allergies
  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy
  • Pain: acupuncture, osteopathy, physiotherapy, etc.
  • Sleep study with medical doctors specially trained in sleep science

How Can You Get a Good Night’s Sleep?

  • Get daylight exposure
  • Exercise earlier in day
  • Balance your blood sugar and limit your sugar intake
  • Limit caffeine intake
    • Half life is about 6 hours and quarter life is about 12 hours, as you get older, you can tolerate less
    • Consider no caffeine after 1pm or for 12 hours before bed
  • Limit alcohol intake
    • Acts as a sedative – not real sleep – dulls down impulse control
    • Fragmented sleep with many short waking intervals more regularly and not deep sleep
    • Not restorative sleep with less time in REM
  • Reduce bladder irritating foods like citrus, spicy foods, carbonated beverages
  • Journal before bed – unload thoughts and “to-dos”
  • Reduce screen exposure
    • One study found even reading on an iPad versus a print book suppressed melatonin levels by 50% and delayed the onset of sleep by many hours.
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room
    • Turn thermostat down to 15-19 C or 60-67 F
  • Try out essential oils like lavender or cedarwood – diffuse or mix in carrier oil and put on bottoms of feet
  • Calming bedtime routine like meditation and a warm bath or shower helps cool you down by creating vasodilation after
  • Cortisol-balancing herbs in tea or supplement form:
    • TEAS: Tulsi, Chamomile, Lavender, lemon balm
    • Magnesium
    • Passionflower
    • GABA
  • Melatonin
    • 0.5 to 3mg is usually enough, while 5-10mg or more can shut down your natural production and produce more side effects like morning grogginess
    • Best used for jet lag from travel or as we age 
  • Progesterone support if needed
  • Consider a sleep divorce – sleep in a separate room from your partner if they snore
  • Don’t lay awake in bed longer than 20min so you don’t associate context of being awake with your bed
  • Seek out a psychologist trained in CBT-I for more personalized support

Sleep tools you can use:

  • Sleep cycle app, Oura ring, Whoop strap
  • Meditation apps like Insight Timer
  • Blue light glasses
  • Ear plugs
  • White noise machine, fan, humidifier, air purifier
  • Red light bulbs and night lights
  • Weighted blanket like Zonli

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves putting a tea bag or two of lemon balm or chamomile tea in Stuart’s bath and using Badger sleep balm on the backs of Stuart’s hands and his feet for extra sleep support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Cyto-Matrix’s Mag Matrix magnesium liquid for Frankie and Bach Flower Rescue Remedy night spray for the whole family. 

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 72: Hard Habits to Break? How to Use The Four Tendencies For Lasting Change

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss habits and Gretchen Rubin’s, “The Four Tendencies” framework behind why you keep or don’t keep habits. If you’ve picked up some bad habits or have let go of some healthy habits during the pandemic, you’ll want to listen in to find out why and how to start changing your habits.

Why do you have certain habits?

  1. Trigger – Automatic, autopilot, routine or low energy
  2. Behaviour – Healthy or unhealthy
  3. Result or outcome – Reward with positive feelings or negative feelings and impact

What can you do to interrupt automatic habits and behaviours?

Between your trigger and behaviour: pause; set timer, do something you enjoy for 5-10 minutes (eg. journal, go for a walk), then see how you feel

Four Tendencies, as outlined in Better Than Before book by Gretchen Rubin

  • Distinguishes how you respond to inner and outer expectations
  • Why you keep habits or don’t
  1. Upholder
  • Meets both inner and outer expectations
  • Self-starter, reliable, motivated, thorough
  • But can become defensive, rigid, impatient, demanding
  • Can experience burn out and not say no
  • Key strategy for habit change: Does well with scheduling and monitoring
  1. Questioner
  • Meets inner expectations and resists outer expectations
  • Data-driven; desire to create efficient and effective systems
  • Like to play devil’s advocate
  • It isn’t enough to be told what to do
  • Needs to know why
  • Reliable, strong-willed, responsible
  • Can suffer analysis paralysis – can manage with seating deadlines, establishing limits, consulting authorities
  • Key strategy for habit change: Strategy of accountability and clarity with monitoring and collecting data 
  1. Obliger
  • Resists inner expectations and meets outer expectations
  • People pleaser and puts a high value on meeting commitments to others—“I’ll do anything for a client/patient/family member”
  • Requires deadlines, oversight, monitoring, and other forms of accountability
  • Key strategy for habit change: Give self treats or rewards
  1. Rebel
  • Resists both inner and outer expectations
  • Independent-minded
  • Unswayed by conventional opinion, willing to buck social conventions
  • In touch with their authentic desires
  • Act as though ordinary rules don’t apply to them
  • Restless; may find it difficult to settle down in a job, relationship, city
  • Repelled by routine and planning
  • Struggle with repetitive or mandatory tasks
  • Needs any behaviour to be convenient and to add to their identity
  • Key strategy for habit change: Strategy of Identity

Consider the following Habit Hacks:

  • Approach your habits and behaviours with self-love, compassion and forgiveness, as we discussed in Episode 55
  • Be intentional and recognize your autopilot behaviours
  • Remember the why
  • Commit and schedule it in your calendar 
  • Pair it with something else – making your own lemon water while making kids’ breakfast
  • Break it up into bite-sized chunks
  • Be accountable – text a friend or post on social media, join online community
  • Monitor progress – track in calendar or journal with gold stars or check marks, post on social media (see Episode 11 to learn more about using a bullet journal)
  • Avoid “all or nothing” thinking – you can start over anytime


Take the Four Tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin.

The Alcohol Experiment and This Naked Mind Podcast

This Week’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of Australian Carob Co carob chips to keep her chocolate intake in check. You can get them from Natura Market.

Dr. Toni loves Smart Sweets gummy bears and peach rings for a sugar free treat.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her by signing up here

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Don’t miss MomFest Digital 2021! Dr. Lisa is one of the headline speakers on May 13th at 9:15pm. Get your tickets HERE!

Email us or connect with us on Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!