A Latin American woman in East Texas is breaking boundaries and creating a life she wants by following dreams, while empowering and teaching women how to make their lives better.

Dr. Cris Berlingeri juggles being a dermatologist, bakery owner, certified life coach, podcaster, mother and wife, all while giving back to her community and empowering women she meets along the way. She not only dedicates her life to always improving and chasing her own dreams, but also makes sure other women know they can do the same.

As a life coach, Berlingeri’s goal is to be what she once needed in life — a leader to guide her toward her goals.

“I saw so many women suffering, particularly this time of year ... I remember being so disappointed in myself because I was again, at the end of the year, not making the goals I promised myself I would do. There I was, overeating on the day of Thanksgiving,” she said.

Following the days after Thanksgiving, Berlingeri said she found herself either starting a restricting diet until Christmas Day, or unconsciously ate whatever, promising herself January would mark the start of her chasing her fitness goal again, knowing it was a lie.

“Once I figured it out, I (decided) I wanted to become a life coach so I can teach other people how to do this so they can end a suffering cycle,” she said.

The root of finding her purpose in life began as she grew up in Puerto Rico, where it was expected to not only finish a plate of food but also get seconds, as it can be considered rude not to. She often felt confused, as she was also expected to have a slim body.

Without any sort of direction, Berlingeri tried to figure out how to achieve her fitness goals.

Through developing eating disorders, always dieting and yo-yoing in between weight goals, her life began to change when she discovered life coaching three years ago. She learned to develop a healthy relationship with food and allow herself to do what she wanted and teach others to do the same.

When she hears people say they want to lose weight but don’t have time or don’t know where to start, Berlingeri encourages them to eat exactly what they would regularly eat now and leave two bites behind. She said it is all about baby steps instead of forcing a harsh change.

“Everything we create in life is because of what we do or don’t do. Everything that we do and don’t do is generated by our thoughts,” Berlingeri said. She added that on any given day, a person has over 60,000 thoughts, many of which are subconscious.

“If we want to change our life, the first step is becoming aware of our thoughts. Our thoughts create and gear what we do or don’t do. We cannot change what we don’t know, so the first step is awareness and how we create awareness is journaling,” she said.

Berlingeri knows she is the role model she always wanted in the past. If she would have met someone like her when she once needed direction, Berlingeri said she would have known her goal was possible.

To reach more people, Berlingeri started a podcast, “The Joyful Weight Loss,” where she is on a mission to teach the tools that helped her learn how to enjoy cooking, sharing and eating the food she loves, while still managing to keep off the extra weight she carried for years. The podcast is recommended to anyone who is struggling to lose eight, tired of back-and-forth dieting, and want to lose weight in a simple way.

Because she is also a mother to three young children and wife, Berlingeri finds ways to manage her time effectively. Sometimes, that means recording her podcast in the car while her children are at swim or soccer practice. She said it means saying no sometimes and having realistic time and food plans. These are skills she teaches in her life coaching business and podcast as well.

Her recent episodes talk about perfectionism, other people’s opinions and why it could be difficult to lose weight.

Berlingeri is also a board-certified dermatologist. She attended the University of Puerto Rico and studied medicine at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. She currently practices in Tyler.

Since she was a child and even during medical school, baking and cooking has been like therapy for Berlingeri. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself baking more as she had more time on her hands.

She learned how to perfect her favorite Puerto Rican pastries and eventually realized the East Texas area needed to be exposed to Puerto Rican foods and flavors. She expects to open a bakery with her Venezuelan business partner in the Tyler area in early 2022. The bakery will offer Puerto Rican and Venezuelan dishes.

Her goal with her business, “Lemon Yellow Latin Bites” is to bring communities together.

With her business endeavors and finding success in East Texas as a Latina, Berlingeri said she considers herself privileged. This enables her to give back to her community. She serves on the board of the Hispanic Business Alliance, a local radio station board, and often volunteers at local organizations.

What’s next for Berlingeri is to graduate with her master’s degree in seminary and theology, officially open the doors to her bakery, and since picking up the habit of journaling every day, Berlingeri has realized she wants to create a conference and seminar for Hispanic women to help them find the right mindset and how to achieve their goals.

“You can write your story. You can see yourself as a hero, as a victorious warrior. Anything is possible,” Berlingeri said.

 
 

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Bilingual Multimedia Journalist

I cover COVID-19 and health in the East Texas area for Tyler Morning Telegraph, the Longview News-Journal and Tyler Paper Español. Stephen F. Austin State University alumna. For story ideas, email me at rtorres@tylerpaper.com.