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How Paying Off $130K in Debt Caused One Woman to Lose 140 Pounds

Our Turning Point video series features people's journeys to becoming debt-free, including the impact it has on other aspects of their lives. The following is Elizabeth Benton's story and what she accomplished because of learning to take control of her money.

Growing up in a high-achieving family, Elizabeth Benton’s parents taught her how to spend less than she made and work hard for what she wanted.

What she desperately wanted was to lose weight. At her heaviest, Elizabeth was more than 300 pounds.

"I wanted to be a high achiever in every regard—not just financially, but with my health," she says. "In fact, I walked away from a full scholarship in Latin and Greek to study nutrition as an obese teenager. I wanted more than anything to tackle this."

Before she could do that, she had another obstacle to overcome.

"Between my husband’s flight school and my student loans, we had $130,000 in debt. We didn’t get to do with our money what we wanted to. We had to pay that student debt. I decided I wanted more freedom than that."

That’s when she found Financial Peace University. This was a game changer. She finally learned to focus on her money goals one at a time—until she was completely out of debt! And in addition to paying back her student loans, Elizabeth and her husband achieved other big goals like purchasing a home and enjoying fulfilling careers. Life was good. But she still hadn’t tackled one thing.

"I thought, Why is it that I can achieve all these other things, and I can have total tunnel vision and commitment to a goal, but I’m not able to achieve the weight loss I want?

This was her lightbulb moment: "Taking control of my finances was a turning point that allowed me to take care of everything in my world."

"Taking control of my finances was a turning point that allowed me to take care of everything in my world."

That included her weight.

She decided to "unlearn" everything she’d studied about food and nutrition in school. Instead, she took a commonsense approach to figuring out what her body did and didn’t need.

After committing to smarter eating and gradual exercise, she lost 130 (now 140) pounds! In other words, she nailed it. Not surprisingly, people wanted to know her weight-loss secret. That’s why she launched her podcast, Primal Potential. Now her passion is helping other people achieve their fitness goals after years of failure and defeat.

"Motivation isn’t something that just strikes you," she says. "It’s something you choose to create every day. I have to consciously choose my focus throughout the day, all day, every day."

"I have to consciously choose my focus throughout the day, all day, every day."

She motivates herself by plastering encouraging phrases all over her wall and treadmill desk:

  • Ignore fear.
  • You can make anything happen.
  • Live your passion.
  • Exceed.
  • Refuse to be average.

Each day, she chooses to believe these and be "relentlessly positive." While her journey hasn’t been easy, her struggles are an important part of her story. And they’ve made her stronger.

"My passion is a direct result of all of the pain, all of the struggle, and all of the failures," she says. "I wouldn’t change a thing."

For more inspirational stories, check out The Dave Ramsey Show on one of the following channels:

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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