A BCW Success Story




When Baraka Community Wellness’s founder, Raheem Baraka first met Jennifer in 2013, she weighed 365 pounds. Her body mass index (BMI) was 47.3 and her body fat percentage 49.6. Clinically, these data meant Jennifer was “Class III Obese.”

The typical medical treatment for Class III obesity—bariatric surgery—costs $14,000- $22,000 for the operation alone, not accounting for the other costs associated with this invasive procedure. Jennifer had a lifelong history of overeating and many of the habits and health challenges associated with obesity: high blood pressure, depression, low productivity, and smoking. These conditions and behaviors, combined with her morbid obesity, meant Jennifer was among the most costly group of patients treated by the U.S. healthcare system.

Importantly, Jennifer had come to realize that she needed to change her behavior if she wanted to free herself from the chronic health problems associated with her weight. The first step in the intervention process was listening to Jennifer, learning about her life, her behaviors, her strengths and weaknesses.

After two months of authentic conversation and exchange, we built the trust necessary to craft a plan to help Jennifer focus on the root causes of her health challenges. Through guided conversation, Jennifer identified what was preventing her from making healthy choices and developed strategies to self-correct.

With greater self-understanding and new tools to make better choices, Jennifer started to experience success toward her goals. Where she once lacked willpower, she was now motivated; a new sense of efficacy replaced her once constant feelings of despair. By month six of working with Jennifer, she began a fitness plan tailored to her specific needs and abilities and began seeing a registered dietician who helped her develop new eating habits and who checked in regularly to help reinforce these new behaviors. By month eight, Jennifer was on a supervised rigorous and regular exercise regimen and began to exercise on her own time, motivated by her growing desire for increased momentum toward her health and fitness goals. A self-efficacy success.

In under 2 years1, Jennifer has lost 165 pounds—nearly half her body weight— and now weighs 200 pounds. Her blood pressure prescription dosage has significantly decreased, she has changed her eating habits, continues to exercise, and fully expects to get down to her target weight of 175 pounds by the end of this year.

No risky surgery.
No expensive hospitalizations.
No costly prescription medications.

Underlying this impressive story of a woman moving from extreme illness to a vibrant and healthier lifestyle is the fact that such a radical transformation in Jennifer’s life was achieved non-clinically, through lifestyle changes alone, with the guidance of a compassionate team of experts and a supportive coaching environment

We are even more excited by the prospect of helping the many other people in greater Boston who can follow Jennifer’s example with the support of our expert team and our proven approach to health and wellness.

Baraka Community Wellness is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and our mission to provide wellness solutions for at-risk individuals and communities by engaging, educating and empowering to close the disparities gap and reduce healthcare costs. 

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