Size 18 student who ‘couldn’t cook scrambled eggs’ loses FOUR stone after teaching herself to make healthy versions of her high-calorie favourites – and has landed a book deal with her guilt-free recipes
A size 18 Tik Tok star who piled on the on the pounds after ‘losing all sense of portion control’ during university has shed four stone after creating low calorie versions of her favourite meals.
Rosie Breen, 25, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, went from a size 10 to weighing 17st 3lbs after embarking on student life and living on diet of ‘easy cook’ pasta bakes, crisps and bread.
After realising her body size had ‘doubled’ after a girls’ holiday in 2019, Rosie decided to take matters into her own hands and taught herself how to cook healthy recipes through YouTube tutorials.
By making simple ingredients swaps – such as swapping cream for skimmed milk and getting a meal of macaroni cheese down to just 490 calories per portion compared to 780 calories – Rosie dropped three dress sizes to a size 12 by 2020 and now weighs 12st 9lbs.
The recipes have been so successful, she has even released a cook book and she was able to ditch her corporate job and become a full time food influencer with her success story earning her 400,000 followers on TikTok and 80,000 fans on Instagram.
Rosie Breen, 25, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, dropped from a size 18 to a size 12 after learning how to create low calorie versions of her favourite meals. Seen centre left before her weight loss and right after her weight loss
Rosie taught herself how to cook healthy recipes through YouTube tutorials. Left to right: Cheesy Broccoli Quiche, Vegetable Gnocchi
Revealing that she had struggled with her weight since childhood, she said: ‘When I was younger, I was always one of the tallest girls in my class and always had broad shoulders and wide hips.
‘I always felt uncomfortable and like I was the big girl – and I had an incredibly negative relationship with my body – but I grew out of it by the age of 17 and felt good about my figure.’
After going from a size 10 to size 18 in three years thanks to a diet of ready-meal pasta bakes, family size bags of Doritos and bread, Rosie also struggled with portion control and would constantly sign up to the gym but never go.
She said: ‘When I went to university I had recently had the contraceptive injection and I suddenly had this insanely huge appetite – and was in charge of all my meals for the first time.
‘[As I gained weight] I didn’t have any self-worth and my confidence was constantly being knocked back.
Pictured: Rosie Breen showing her weightloss. Feb 2019 (L) and June 2020 (R)
‘I’d re-join the gym at the start of every term and give up after going twice.
‘It felt like everyone there knew what they were doing and I felt so intimidated and out of place.
‘I also had no sense of portion control at all and by the time I finished uni I had doubled in size, but was still in denial.
‘[It wasn’t until] a girl’s holiday to Budapest in October 2018 that I had my turning point.
While on the trip, Rosie had put a towel on after her shower and found it wouldn’t fully cover her body, while it fit the other girls easily.
She understood how much weight she had gained – with the scale showing 17st 3lbs.
The recipes have been so successful, she has even released a cook book and she was able to ditch her corporate job and become a full time food influencer with her success story earning her 400,000 followers on TikTok and 80,000 fans on Instagram
By making simple ingredients swaps – such as swapping cream for skimmed milk and getting a meal of macaroni cheese down to just 490 calories per portion compared to 780 calories – Rosie dropped three dress sizes to a size 12 by 2020 and now weighs 12st 9lbs
By the time she graduated later that same year and secured a corporate job, she was miserable with her appearance so the following year, she made a renewed attempt at losing weight – starting with her diet.
Wanting to take on a body-positive approach to eating, the blogger skipped the fad diets and instead focused on ‘healthifying’ her favourite dishes – such as pasta dishes, tasty breakfasts and Thai food.
She felt that restricting foods she enjoyed wouldn’t be sustainable.
By making simple ingredients swaps, Rosie recreated dishes including one of her favourites: mac and cheese – a typically calorific meal.
Experimenting with swapping heavy cream for skimmed milk, using light cheeses and breadcrumbs instead of deep-frying the chicken, her recipe for the dish comes in at just 490 calories per portion, with 29g of protein thanks to the bacon and cheese.
Pictured: Rosie Breen (L) on holiday in Budapest with friends in 2019
Pictured: Rosie Breen showing a weightloss comparison. 2019 (L) to Jan 2021 (R)
Pictured: Rosie Breen showing a weight loss comparison going from 17 stone in 2018 (left) to 12.5 stone in 2019 (R) in a year
A more traditional recipe for the calorie-busting meal clocks in at upwards of 780 calories per serving, chock-full of fat and cholesterol thanks to ingredients including cream and full-fat cheeses.
The same principle applied to her other meals, with Rosie creating healthy versions of all of her favourites – tacos, pad Thai, pasta dishes, chicken souvlaki and pancakes.
She also made portion control a priority and stuck to a daily calorie goal.
The cookbook author said: ‘With cooking, I found inspiration from restaurant menus – if I liked the look of a dish, I’d try and make a healthier version of it.
‘I was never confident in the kitchen despite my parents being really extravagant cooks, but I realised it was time to learn.
‘At 20 years old, I asked my little cousin to show me how to cook scrambled eggs.’
Rosie Breen on a night out in Budapest in 2018 before deciding to lose weight
Pictured: Rosie Breen showing her weightloss. August 2019 (L) and August 2020 (R)
Pictured: One of Rosie Breen’s delicious but lower calorie recipes. This is Veggie Garlic Noodle Bowl.
Rosie also watched YouTube tutorials and ordered HelloFresh cooking boxes to help perfect her new-found culinary skills.
The influencer was soon feeling great but tackling the fitness aspect of her new lifestyle was a bigger challenge.
Rosie said: ‘I had to leave 40 minutes into my first class – it was so incredibly hard and I couldn’t catch my breath.
‘But the next day my mum pushed me to go back and stay for the whole class, even if I had to sit out part of it, and so I went and had an amazing time doing ‘boxercise’.
‘I developed such a love for the classes and getting the endorphins.
‘It’s so important to find exercise that you enjoy.’
As Rosie’s confidence improved, she decided to share photos of her food on social media and quickly went viral, with people begging her for tips.
By May 2021, she was able to quit her marketing job and became a full-time food influencer with 400,000 followers on TikTok and 80,000 fans on Instagram (@rosiebreenx).
Rosie Breen with her boyfriend Henry on their last night out before lockdown in 2020
When she first started dating boyfriend Henry, 25, in September 2019, she worried the weight would creep back on due to dinners and nights out
Rosie said: ‘I knew if I helped just one person with their journey, it would be worth putting myself out there and sharing my story on social media.
‘I’ve just been figuring it out as I go along but seeing people making my recipes and knowing I’ve helped them is amazing.
‘It feels emotional to have cooking be a big part of my career.
‘Losing weight has helped me completely change my mindset – I now know I can do anything I set my mind to.’
Rosie has also come out with her own cookbook in partnership with HP Custom Content, dubbed Rosie’s Recipes – where she shares the failsafe meals that helped her shed the extra pounds.
The no-fuss recipes include dishes such as vodka pasta, tofu pad Thai, stuffed peppers and one-pot cheesy chicken and spinach alfredo.
Pictured: A grab from a video by Rosie Breen showing how to make her healthier version of Greek Chicken Souvlaki
Rosie’s Chicken Souvlaki (serves two):
- 2 1/2lb organic boneless skinless chicken breast, fat removed, cut into 1 1/2inch pieces
- Greek pita bread
- Tzatziki sauce
- Sliced tomato, cucumber, onions and Kalamata olives
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1tsp dried rosemary
- 2tbsp dried oregano
- 1stp sweet paprika
- 1tsp each Kosher salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 lemon juice
Prepare the marinade. In the bowl of a small food processor, add garlic, oregano, rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice (do NOT add the dried bay leaves yet). Pulse until well combined.
Place chicken in a large bowl and add bay leaves. Top with marinade. Toss to combine, making sure chicken is well-coated with marinade. cover tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight (see note for quicker marinating option.)
Soak 10 to 12 wooden skewers in water for 30 to 45 minutes or so. Prepare Tz atz iki sauce and other fixings, and if you’re adding Greek salad or other sides, prepare those as well. (some sides like roasted garlic hummus may take longer, you can prepare those in advance).
When ready, thread marinated chicken pieces through the prepared skewers.
Prepare outdoor grill (or griddle). Brush grates with a little oil and heat over medium-high heat. Place chicken skewers on grill (or cook in batches on griddle) until well browned and internal temperature registers 155° on instant read thermometer. Be sure to turn skewers evenly to cook on all sides, about 5 minutes total. (Adjust temperature of grill if necessary). While grilling, brush lightly with the marinade (then discard any left marinade).
Transfer chicken to serving platter and let rest for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, briefly grill pitas and keep warm.
Assemble grilled chicken souvlaki pitas. First, spread Tzatziki sauce on pita, add chicken pieces (take them off skewers first, of course) then add veggies and olives.
In addition to being happy and healthy, the influencer has also found love.
When she first started dating boyfriend Henry, 25, in September 2019, she worried the weight would creep back on due to dinners and nights out.
But Rosie was determined to have a good balance between working out and dating.
She said: ‘I found that if I stayed consistent with my routine, I would be fine.
‘The proof is in the pudding – it’s what you do nine out of 10 days that counts, not the one day you have off.’
Rosie now weighs 12st 9lbs and her favourite healthy dish to make is one of her mac and cheese recipes – with prawns and chorizo for an extra kick.
She takes a balanced approach to enjoying treats, indulging cravings without going overboard – and it’s an important part of her message as a body-positive influencer.
Rosie added: ‘It’s got to be sustainable, otherwise you’ll quit – it’s so true that you can enjoy everything as long as it’s in moderation.
‘If you want the chocolate, eat the chocolate – just take a balanced approach to it.’
One of Rosie Breen’s delicious but lower calorie recipes. This is a Yoggie Protein Bowl
Rosie was determined to have a good balance between working out and dating and has kept healthy