Dieting & Depakote

Why am I Dieting?

Many people who are familiar with Depakote know that it causes you to gain weight.  After I started taking this medicine for the first time, I gained 20 pounds.  Since I was overweight to begin with, I decided that it is about time to start losing weight.  I prefer not to say that I am on a diet, but trying to alter bad eating habits.  I started a small investigation by asking people on epilepsy forums if they have been successful losing weight while taking this medicine, and have had few positive responses.  Undaunted, I found a book called  “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life” by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung.   I have identified my personal barriers to healthy eating.  I have listed all of them below.

Personal Barriers to Healthy Eating

  1. Do you skip breakfast or other meals?   
  2. Do you speed eat?
  3. Do you mindlessly overeat large portions?
  4. Do you eat a lot at night?
  5. Do you often eat fast food or restaurant meals?
  6. Do you lack the time to prepare healthy meals?
  7. Do you eat more on the weekends than during the week?
  8. Do you eat when you are angry, sad, bored, or stressed? 


I am guilty of many of these “personal barriers”.   It soon became clear that I need to watch how I am eating my food as well as what food I am eating.   For example: I like eating in front of the tv or while working on my computer.  According to this book, this can cause overeating.  I didn’t even think that this would be an issue.

Putting Knowledge into Action

Now that I have identified my personal barriers to healthy eating, I can develop a few strategies to prevent overeating.  Many of these personal barriers of mine have been in place for decades and are not a recent development.  That will only make it harder for me to get rid of them.    Part two of my weight loss strategy will be to start implementing a more rigorous exercise routine.  Exercise is said to be good for the mind as well as the body.


6 thoughts on “Dieting & Depakote

  1. I am also going to check out the book. You might want to check out C.U.R.E. (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy. I had the opportunity to meet its founder and chair, Susan Axelrod last October. What a passionate advocate she is. Her daughter, Read her story on


  2. I also have epilepsy and am on Depakote (2500 mg daily) along with Dilantin. Several years ago I lost 52 pounds with sensible eating and exercise. Inadvertantly, I got a little too low, it caused seizures/hospitalization, and my albumen was too low. The doctor said I was malnourished. I almost laughed. I thought, Who me? Malnourished? Anyhow, I’m “changing my lifestyle” again, and in a month I’ve lost 8 pounds. I can do it. I just need to be patient with 1.5-2 pounds a week. My goal is to lose 30 pounds by June 1. I’m using, a really good tracking website, and I would encourage anyone to do the same.


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