I had the pleasure of talking with Carla Mendoza, founder of NaturaLean Belize. A Belizean woman with a powerful message that can bring about not only a physical transformation but one that can bring transformation emotionally and spiritually.
Carla was born and raised in San Ignacio, Cayo. She is married with 2 children, 9 and 4 years old. She was a high school teacher for 10 years before she made a huge transition at the age of 29.
Founder of NaturaLean Belize
Carla: I used to be a High school teacher for 10 years. Now I am no longer a teacher but I am now working where God has placed me, helping people to better their health by what they eat and teaching them. I’m still a teacher in many ways, but now I’m teaching adults how to eat, instead of teaching academics, it’s another level of teaching. I call myself a food coach because that’s the only thing people understand to define what I do.
Andrea: I think all of us have a turning point in our lives, sometimes I feel like we stumble into our purpose, it’s not always clear at first and then we have an “aha moment” and then like “Ok, something, has to change.” Tell me about how this journey began for you.
Carla: I was 28 and pregnant with my daughter and I started to gain a lot of weight. I’m 5’2”, so I’m very short and I just kept piling on the weight. I was 210 lbs, the highest I’ve been in all my life when I had my daughter. It was a bittersweet moment, I was happy to have my daughter but I was sad for myself because of my body and the weight. I kept telling myself that it will go away, it will come off, it was just the pregnancy, you know, trying to stay positive, but then my daughter turned one and I was still around 175-180lbs and I couldn’t lose anymore. So that’s where the struggle began. “Ok, this is the new me, I’ll just buy clothes that fit”, this was me at that point in time. The turning point for me was when I saw a picture my son took of me. A picture that I wasn’t ready for, it was just me there with my belly, my arms, a raw version of me from the eyes of another person when I wasn’t prepared and I felt at that moment when I saw that picture, that I couldn’t recognize myself in that picture.
It was like heaven spoke to me at that moment and said, “My child, this is not who I created you to be, this version sitting on that couch is not who I created you to be. There is better and there is more and I want you to search for that, that more that you can be.”
This turning point for Carla led her on an amazing journey. She began to read books and started to do research on modern science, modern weight loss, all-natural because she didn’t want to do pills or chemicals.
Carla: Little by little, with the help of heaven, I have to say, heaven helped me with this one. I began to do what I needed to do, combine foods and keeping records of everything I was eating and I began to lose weight and began to do it quickly and people were amazed, people were shocked. I reached my goal of 30lbs lost by the age of 30 and by now everyone was asking, “What are you doing? I need to do what you are doing, you look amazing, you look like you feel amazing.”
Carla tried explaining to people about what she was doing but people weren’t understanding the principles so she decided to create a program using a food plan lifestyle approach that was in an easier format and that’s how her journey with NaturaLean Belize began.
Negativity towards Carla’s lifestyle change was one of the challenges she faced but she used those negative words as fuel to keep pushing and vowing never to go back to that size again. Another challenge she faced was self-motivation, to remind herself that she was strong and that she was making this change for herself, with or without cheerleaders. This was for her. Four years later, she is still living this lifestyle and keeping the weight off. Now she is more determined than ever to make it work for other people.
Carla: Another challenge I face is motivating people, motivating people to want to change. People do not want change, they rather stay where they are because it’s secure, it’s safe, it’s what they know. In order to get them to the point to want change that is where my greatest challenge comes in but it’s also my greatest passion. I love encouraging people and showing them that change is nothing to be afraid of, change is actually your best friend when it comes to bettering your lifestyle. Some of our greatest challenges sometimes become some of our greatest victories so I just stick to it because God is leading and He has a plan for our lives.
I believe that many times God calls us, He calls that one person, but that person has so many people that they can reach if they only say yes to God but many times then because of fear, then that person says no, then all those other people will not hear the message God sent you to give them so I’m very happy that God helps me to be strong and push through and to just have that fire inside of me, and that desire to actually search for what God told me He had for me because I saw that picture and He told me “I don’t recognize you anymore, this is not who I created you to be, not who you are meant to be.” So I began to search for that other version of me and now it’s amazing. Anyone can find that version of themselves, they just have to learn how to do it and that’s what the program is here to do.
Andrea: That is so powerful, if you didn’t respond to those words, I don’t think any other words would have had the same impact.
Carla: Believe me when it happened to me, I was in tears for months and months, realizing how much wrong I had done to my body, how I had been living, how I had allowed it and even enjoyed doing it to my body, eating and drinking those things but God’s grace. God’s grace is sufficient and He covers all those mistakes and He tells us just look forward to your future, don’t look behind, just look forward. This is why I take any opportunity to share what God has done in my life and how He wants to do the same for their life, they just have to be willing to accept change because many times change is what we need to reach our purpose and our passion and plans that God has for us.