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Thomas Ellis

​​​​October 2015


Ten years ago, he started weight training, which he credits with helping him keep his insulin stable. He also sticks to a regular schedule regarding food intake and insulin.

What got you into strength training?
I was getting older and felt myself becoming lethargic. I don’t watch much TV, if any, and so I did a lot of reading about the benefits of strength training and getting stronger. I thought I’d give it a shot.

How often do you work out?
I work out three times a week for about an hour and alternate muscle groups. I try to keep a good mix of muscle movements. I’ve gained a lot of strength. I can pec fly and bench press over 260 pounds.
I don’t do a lot of aerobic exercise. I found it causes my insulin levels to fluctuate too much.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome because of having Type 1 diabetes?
The key one is having a stable supply of energy throughout the day. I keep a supply of nut bars in my desk for when my energy dips.

I try to keep a regular schedule about food and insulin. I don’t miss a shot or a meal.

Do you follow a special diet because of your diabetes?
I don’t really eat anything that’s out of the ordinary or follow a special diet. I don’t worry too much about portion sizes. I ate a lot more when I was younger due to fear of hypoglycemic reaction, so I sometimes overate. But as I got older, I realized I don’t have to eat to ensure against that as much.

How often do you need insulin?
I self-inject insulin four times a day. I think over my life, I’ve probably taken over 60,000 injections.

What advice do you have for employees who want to be healthier?
People should consider taking a long-term view of health and fitness. A lot of folks focus on the food they can eat and enjoy what’s in front of them rather than the exercise their bodies can do.

I’d also say turn off the TV.

The people I’d like to reach out to more than anybody are mothers who have a young, Type 1 diabetic child. I know from my own mom they’re very worried about the future for their children. I just would like to say, it can turn out well. Having Type 1 diabetes hasn’t prevented me from traveling, meeting new people or working at a great job at Kelsey-Seybold. I’ve lived overseas as well. I taught English as a second language in Korea and Japan for five years. My life is good!