Guatemalan mother starts business to support her family

Arredondo and her sons at Active Nutrition Zone. Her sons helped her decorate for Halloween.
Ligia Arredondo and her sons decorate for Halloween at Active Nutrition Zone. (Justin Romney)

Ligia Arredondo divorced her husband after years of an abusive relationship. But with only two days before rent was due, she was left to support herself and her three children on her own.

With no husband and no income, Arredondo turned to a large amount of health supplement shakes she had purchased for her family three months earlier for her last financial resort. She started contacting people and visiting them in their homes to sell them her extra product.

“I had all this product, I had no income, and rent was due,” she said.

Arredondo has come a long way since the day of the divorce. She has overcome an abusive relationship, obesity, depression and financial instability. With help from her mentor in the company, her experience selling her extra nutrition shakes led to a successful, family-friendly career as an independent Herbal Life distributor and the owner of Active Nutrition Zone, a health club in Provo.

Arredondo is originally from Guatemala, but her family came to the U.S. when she was young to receive medical treatment for her father. She was married here at age 21 and first experienced abuse from her husband when her first child, Daniel, was eight months old.

“I didn’t think anything of it,” Arredondo said, as the abuse was minor. But over the next few years the abuse became increasingly worse.

After a particularly violent episode, and with encouragement from her sister, Claudia, Arredondo reported her husband to the police.

“I was also in an abusive relationship, and I just know how horrible that was,” Claudia Arredondo said. “I knew that she needed a lot of support in making such a big decision.”

Despite the abuse Ligia Arredondo experienced, she is not bitter toward life or her husband.

“I learned that he was raised a certain way,” she said. “I was raised way differently too.”

Ligia Arredondo weighed 220 pounds before her divorce and first purchased Herbal Life products as a way to lose weight. She has lost 63 pounds over the last three years since beginning to use the product.

“Once you start learning of all the bad things that bad nutrition gives you or takes away, you want to tell other people,” she said. “I really do compare it a lot to the gospel: you want to share it … to let others know about it.”

“She is always on top of it, asking me how I feel and how my nutrition is,” said Claudia Arredondo, who is also a member of the club.

Despite being a working, single mother, Ligia Arredondo has tried not to miss a moment of her three sons’ development.

“(My kids) are the reason why I do everything that I do and why I chose the business that I chose,” she said. Running her own health club gives her freedom to set her own schedule and make family her number-one priority.

Ligia Arredondo is able to bring her three sons — Diego, David and Daniel, ages 6 and younger — to work with her each day. As she consults with her clients about their health and lifestyle, her children play with each other or children of her clients.

“I love it because it gives that family ambiance,” Ligia Arredondo said.

Ligia and her sons at Active Nutrition Zone making funny faces.
Ligia Arredondo and her sons making funny faces at Active Nutrition Zone. (Justin Romney)

As Ligia Arredondo began her career she feared her sons would feel like they were being pushed to the side. But instead they have become a part of her team, encouraging her to talk to potential clients and help others improve their health.

Ligia Arredondo recounted an instance where Daniel explained to the young daughter of a client that, “You need to have a shake because it is going to keep you healthy.”

Ligia Arredondo doesn’t limit her definition of family to just her sons. Her companions at Herbal Life and her customers are also included.

“When we get together with my companions (at Herbal Life), I feel like they are my family,” she said. “They are my support system right now.”

“She is a mom trying to make life better for all moms. … I consider her one of my best friends,” said Mindee Gurnex, who is a member of Active Nutrition Zone.

After her divorce, Ligia Arredondo struggled with feelings of depression.

“I would go out and talk to people, then come home and cry and be a total mess,” she said.

During this time, her Herbal Life mentor was a huge support, visiting her often and even giving her clothing for her children.

“It was way more than what I expected,” Ligia Arredondo said, tears filling her eyes at the memory of the kindness she received.

She has had many opportunities to provide the same kind of service for others.

When the daughter of one of her Spanish-speaking customers was involved in a minor car accident, the family turned to Ligia Arredondo to translate for them to the police. She didn’t hesitate to help, although she had to leave her club during its hours of operation.

“As you do it and you get to know more people, you kind of get to do the same thing for them,” Ligia Arredondo said. “It’s not just a product that you take, but the relationship that you get to have with people.”

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