How do we know this works?
As you become more active, endorphins will be released. These are chemicals produced by the body that have many positive side effects (you can read up on these) including relief from stress and pain. You will eventually experience a boost in energy level and start to feel that spring in your step, which will leave you craving for more. You will start to realise that you are capable of achieving on a scale that you never thought possible and each experience of success, however small, will spur you on to want more.
Although we are an active bunch, we also know from personal experience, that you are highly likely to need time and your own space for peace, tranquillity and reflection, in order to understand the thought processes that you may be going through, in a safe, compassionate and supportive environment. It’s your plan and we will do our best for you. Your confidence won’t appear overnight. Give yourself the time that you deserve. There’s always time for a coffee, piece of cake or breakfast somewhere on our route. We have a secret supply of tissues too.
How would you describe the person that you have seen in the photographs so far?
That’s me! Your over fifty Outdoor Confidence Coach and Tranquil Trails Level 2 Mountain Bike Leader. I am a professional with a Bsc. Honours Degree in Biological Sciences. I have been a teacher for almost 30 years’, firstly as a biology teacher and now as an Additional Support Needs teacher.
Now imagine me described as morbidly obese by the medical professionals. I have no before photo to show you here, as the only time I would run, was if I saw a camera pointing in my direction.
Weighing in at almost 19 stone at my lowest point, I was inactive, permanently tired, in pain, stressed, anxious, demoralised and unable to find the energy to get out of bed in the morning. The turning point for me, was being offered medication. There had to be another way. If only I could make my body work for me, rather than against me. I had taught enough biology classes about the “fight or flight” response. At 50, I made the decision to fight. It’s tough. It takes time. You need people around you that you can trust, that will support you, even through your most difficult times. You will need every bit of physical and mental strength that you have left, but you can do it! I have never looked back, and no one will hold me back.
Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBINS) and Scottish Cycling Trail Therapy Practitioner
Scottish Mental Health First Aider (SMHFA)
British Weightlifting Level 2 Fully Licensed Coach
Level 2 MTB Leader
Outdoor EFAW 2 qualified
Bsc. Biological Science (Honours)
PVG Registered for children and vulnerable adults
Child Protection Training
Public liability insurance
Specialist Autism Awareness Training
British Cycling Member
Using nature as a resource to promote mental health training
Why was this happening to me?
The challenges that life was throwing at me each day, were coming at me faster than I could handle them, and comfort eating was becoming unmanageable. I had completely lost confidence and was ashamed of myself. The cycle of unhealthy dieting, then putting the weight back on, had begun. I was covering myself up with bigger and baggier clothes. I dreaded the thought of being asked to go out socially, wouldn’t eat in public and became the master of excuses.
Standing up in front of a class became unbearable. Constant comments, just loud enough for me to hear, and not only from the young people, hurt deeply. There was no chance of ever seeing me walk into a staffroom. I am also a Welfare Guardian for a family member, so I fully understand the pressures of a very stressful career, combined with significant family commitments and trying to find the time or energy to exercise or take care of yourself.
How many people walk past you each day and say, “How are you?” You are screaming out inside your head to tell them, but you say “I’m fine” out of politeness, as they rush past you without the time to listen to your answer.
How many people have said to you “Just call me if you need help.” or “I’ll always be there if you need me.”, only to be otherwise engaged when you have just about found your last bit of courage to make that call for help?
How many people that you thought you could trust, have misled you, making things even worse?
At some of your lowest moments have you ever been called oversensitive, intolerant and controlling. On the outside, that’s what others may see. On the inside, you are just trying to survive another day, in the only way that you know how to.
I wanted to be active. I would watch others from a distance and would cry. I saw how much fun they were having doing the things that I have always wanted to do and would say to myself, “I would love to do that, but I can’t because ………………
I’m too fat to ride a bike!
I’ll look like a beached whale in a wetsuit!
I’ll never be able to be that strong or fast!
I can’t walk that far!
You’ll never see my legs in shorts!
On a brave day, I mustered up enough courage to participate in a group activity requiring you to wear a buoyancy aid, only to be told by your over-zealous instructor, in front of the rest of the group, “Sorry, we don’t have one big enough for you.” That was my last attempt at trying any group activity. It wasn’t worth risking the humiliation of it happening again, so I gave up trying.
Following all of the principles that have allowed me to become confident, seven stone lighter, faster, fitter and physically and mentally stronger, at Cairngorm Confidence Outdoors, we will show you that we understand your need for trust, time, patience, understanding and someone to listen who genuinely cares, because we have been at that lowest point too.
We don’t talk about weight and diets. You may lose weight naturally as you become more active, and your mind will be free to make healthy choices without denying anything to yourself. We will support you to develop a positive mindset, where you will be strong enough to walk away from any negative, bullying and controlling influences that may be in your life. We will support you quietly and discretely, while you start to heal mentally and/or physically, get back on your feet, and reach for the stars!
Does this describe you?
Do you know a young person affected by the challenges of life or has experienced/experiencing Adverse Childhood Experiences that needs 1:1 support? Would they benefit from a buddy experienced with GIRFEC and the Wellbeing (SHANARRI) indicators, who could engage them in outdoor activities, helping them to refocus and reach their full potential in school, at home and in the wider community, such as improved behaviour, improved attendance and increased achievement, resilience and confidence?
Are you recovering from illness or injury and need to rebuild your confidence?
I really do know how it feels to lose your independence and freedom in an instance.
Are you going through menopausal changes, which can have a significant impact on your confidence?
Is your weight and failed attempts at diets causing low body confidence and low self-esteem?
Maybe you have never been a confident person and you are taking the first steps towards changing this.
Do you have Additional Support Needs and want to boost your confidence by trying out new activities as part of your Self Directed Support Package? We can support you. If you have a support worker, they can join in too.
Are you a compassionate employer that recognises the potential in an employee? Do you have the empathy to understand that they may need a little confidence boost away from the office environment? Are you an employee that needs CPD with a difference?
There are too many reasons to mention, but for whatever reason you need us to support you to raise your confidence, we are here to offer a helping hand, in the field, in the water and in the mountains.