In the Quest for Health and Fitness

Jen Herrera’s chronic illness remained unexplained…until she contemplated her breast implants. Now she’s telling the world her story.

By Michael Isenbek | Photos: Josue Acosta

Jen Herrera, NBC 6 South Florida’s 6 in the Mix anchor and Davie resident, has taken a long and arduous journey from sickness to health—but now that she has conquered her illness, she is doing all she can to reach out and help others who experienced the same issues that she has.

“Never did I ever imagine that I would be talking about my boobs as publicly as I am, especially coming from a news background and being a news anchor, we’re quite buttoned up,” she declares. After receiving breast implants at age 18, Herrera began to suffer from rashes, swelling, joint pain, food sensitivity and what she calls “brain fog.” “I was walking around, literally—I’m not exaggerating—like an elderly woman,” she reveals.

The diagnosis from doctors was an autoimmune disease, but as soon as she “explanted” (the medical term for removing the breast implants), these issues vanished, and she felt “a hundred times better.” The change was so profound that she was inspired to tell her story publicly—but added the caveat “I don’t think breast implants affect all women the same—I think that’s really important to put out there.” 

And so, Are Your Fake Boobs Making You Sick?: Why I Went Back to a ‘B-cup’ was published, and immediately struck a chord with women suffering from unexplained illness while in possession of breast implants. “The women who I have helped make this whole thing worth it!” Herrera says. “When I first started putting this out there, there’d be a few women here and there, and then now, it’s on a daily basis,” she says. Herrera cites the hashtag #bii (breast implant illness), which went from showing up on Instagram around 100 times to the neighborhood of 31,000 times.

And Herrera also has the answer to the inevitable question of whether saline implants are safer than silicone. “The thing with saline implants, which is what I had, [is that] the shell is still made of silicone, [which] can seep into your body over time,” she explains.

A positive byproduct of Herrera’s path out of sickness is her unwavering devotion to health and fitness. “After changing my diet and choosing to use food as medicine, I saw firsthand how much of an impact what we put in our mouths has on our health,” she says. This is reflected in her trips to the grocery store, stating, “grass-fed meats and organic veggies are always on my shopping list.”

Herrera is “a big believer” in vitamins, and her daily vitamin/supplements, taken “no matter what” are vitamin D3, krill oil, a multivitamin and probiotic. The probiotic reduces bloating, “and just makes me feel good overall,” she says. As a product of this daily regimen, she has noticed better-looking skin and a quicker recovery from workouts. Herrera is not brand-loyal with her vitamins and supplements, stating, “it’s actually good for you to…mix it up, so I don’t take the same brands.” 

Her exercises of choice are spinning and running, and she is a fan of the Peloton streaming fitness app, but most importantly, when it comes to fitness Herrera says, “Find something that you truly enjoy.” Ultimately, “it’s less about looking good and more about feeling good!” she asserts.

Acquiring outer beauty, Herrera believes, starts with embracing inner beauty. And a big barrier blocking the way to the beautiful within is stress. “Stress is a powerful thing! I believe we all underestimate that,” she says. “You can go get a hundred facials a year, but if you’re not feeling right from the inside-out, then you’re not going to look your best.” 

She does concede that eliminating stress is “easier said than done,” but sees both the efforts of exercise and getting enough sleep playing a big role. Staying positive is vital as well. “It’s hard, but you cannot care what people think.” Herrera says. “I think we all waste so much time worrying about everyone else that we lose focus on ourselves and what truly makes us happy!”

In the present day, Herrera is deftly balancing her roles as TV personality, wife, mom and author. “Right now I do truly enjoy what I’m doing. I get to host a live, daytime, TV show during the week and still make it home in time to pick my kids up from school, take them to all of their practices and make dinner! It’s nuts, but I kind of love the organized chaos of it all,” she concludes.

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