FEELING HOMESICK FIVE THOUSAND MILES AWAY IN BARBADOS, JEN, 31, YEARNED FOR A BIT OF BRITISH TV. SO AFTER STICKING ON AN EPISODE OF SUPERSIZE Vs. SUPERSKINNY, JEN SETTLED DOWN. BUT WHEN SHE LAID EYES ON THE SHOW’S SIGNATURE SUPERSIZER, JEN SAW THROUGH HIS CORPULENT LAYERS AND IMMEDIATELY FELL IN LOVE WITH THE SUPERSKINNY MAN BENEATH WHO WAS TRYING TO BREAK FREE.
UNABLE TO FORGET HIM, JEN MESSAGED CHRIS ON FACEBOOK THAT VERY NIGHT… AND WITHIN TWO MONTHS SHE HAD MADE THE LONG JOURNEY BACK TO THE UK TO MEET HIM IN THE FLESH. IT TRULY WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. AFTER A YEAR OF DATING, CHRIS, WHO HAD LOST OVER SIX STONE SINCE APPEARING ON THE SHOW, TOOK JEN BACK TO BARBADOS AND GOT DOWN ON ONE KNEE…
Craving a bit of UK TV I downloaded my favourite reality program: Supersize Vs. Superskinny, and with a large glass of wine, sat back with my work friend, Stacey Cooke, 34, and enjoyed the show. I’d been living in Barbados for XX months/years after going out there to teach English, and though I loved the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle – coconut cocktails, sun and surf, I had to admit to feeling a little homesick. “You just need to watch a bit of good old British telly,” Stacey said after work one night. “Why don’t I come round with a bottle of wine and some chocolate and we can watch some trash TV?” It was a great idea; everything except the chocolate.
I really used to struggle with my weight and was in danger of becoming obese. But nine years ago, I swore of chocolate and I haven’t looked back. The weight dropped off – all six stone of it – and luckily I’ve been able to keep it off ever since.
Later that night when the show came on and Dr Christian Jessen introduced the fatties and the skinnies, Stacy and I had already gone through most of the wine. A little tipsy, we giggled and oohed and ahhed through the show, but one of the contestants stood out more than any of the others, and it wasn’t just because of his 26 stone. Chris Longley, 26, was the show’s Supersized contestant and he was pitted against the tiny Superskinny, Nathan Smith. We watched them struggle with the fact they were both so out of shape and putting their lives at risk – the standard formula for the show, and ultimately ditch their unhealthy diets.
“This might be the drink talking,” I said, nodding to the screen. “But I really fancy that Chris.” Stacey stared at me. “You mean Nathan, right?” she said. “No. Chris: the Supersizer. He’s so lovely and he seems like such a lovely guy.” When the show finished I couldn’t stop talking about him. I knew how much he was struggling. I’d been there myself. I’d struggled too.
I wondered if he had a woman in his life to take care of him. There was no mention of a girlfriend in the show. Stacey turned to me with a mischievous grin. “You know what you should do? You should find him on Facebook and poke him!” “And say what?” I said. “Tell him well done. Tell him he looks great.”
He had done really well, and there was something in my heart telling me to find him. I didn’t know what it was – I had never felt this way about anyone before. After finding him on Facebook I sent him a message.
Hi Chris. I’ve just seen you on Supersize Vs. Superskinny and I just wanted to say congratulations. You’ve done so well and should be really proud of yourself. I sat back, poured another glass of wine and giggled away.
I’d almost forgotten about it when my laptop pinged into life a few minutes later. Chris had messaged me back. Hey Jen – Thanks for the support.
We chatted all night and my friend would keep egging me on every time I started to get cold feet, though the wine helped too. Eventually, we were talking like we’d known each other all of our lives. I told Chris about my own fight with losing weight and why I was living in Barbados, and he told me all about his struggles and his trip to the US to meet a Supersizer even bigger than him who had convinced him to ditch the junk food and start eating healthily.
After a few hours of chatting, we said good night and I collapsed into bed expecting the biggest hangover in the morning. But from that day my head was as clear as day – Chris and I messaged each other all the time. First on Facebook, then on ‘What’s App’ messenger, and then finally, when we were both feeling brave enough, we spoke on video chat. We got on so well, and with each message and phone call I could feel myself falling for him. He confessed to me that he felt the same way.
Then one day, I was offered a job teaching in Paris. “You should do what your heart tells you to do,” Chris said when I told him. “But I would certainly love it if there was a similar job in the UK.”
He was right. Why would I move to another country when all I wanted to do was go come home? I was sick of constantly being away from my family and friends. I did some research and found a job in London. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough for a start. “That’s great news,” said Chris over the phone. “I’ll meet you at the airport shall I?”
Things were moving so fast. We’d only met a few months ago and we’d never met in the flesh, but here we were planning to meet each other for the first time at the airport. When we met it was a little awkward. Chris was standing there at the arrivals gate with a big bouquet of flowers and an even bigger grin. We hugged, clumsily, and Chris told me he had a surprise planned for me. He whisked me off to London for a lovely weekend – a meal, a show, and a lovely hotel, before I went back to Manchester to stay with my family.
“Will I see you again?” I said, tears forming in my eyes. “You can count on it,” said Chris. Within three months we moved in together. I came back down South to start my job, and Chris and got a flat together.
My job wasn’t great but my new life with Chris was heaven. Although he still struggled with food, appearing on Supersize Vs. Superskinny had completely changed the way he looked at food. On Sundays we would plan our weekly meals by writing the menu out on the kitchen table. It was a great way of keeping track of what we were eating and being sensible with money and ingredients. It meant Chris went on to lose another four stone – taking his total up to seven stone. He’d already lost the most out of anyone on the show and now his determination was helping him lose even more!
After a while we moved back to Portsmouth to live with Chris’s parents and I got a teaching job just around the corner which I love. And after being together for a year, Chris took me back to Barbados for a holiday and to see my friends. Walking on the beach one evening, holding hands and taking pictures of the sunset, Chris suddenly got down on one knee. “I love you, Jen. Will you marry me?” he said.
I almost missed it – I was too busy playing on my phone. But as soon as I realised what was happening, I burst into tears. “Of course I will. I love you,” I said and collapsed into his arms.
The wedding is planned for next year and Chris hopes to lose another four stone before the big day. But it doesn’t matter to me if he does or doesn’t – our love is supersized.
Jen and Chris sold their story through sellusyourstory.com and appeared exclusively in Bella Magazine.
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