“I would stuff batteries, coins, everything in my underwear because I wanted to look like I had put on weight, not lost weight.”


I was formally diagnosed with anorexia and depression when I was about 14 years old. Something triggered me when I was younger, and I started obsessing over food and exercise. I began getting a bit depressed and removing myself from social situations. I was losing heaps and heaps of weight, but I kept looking in the mirror and seeing someone fat looking back at me. It was so crazy how my brain had this warped idea of what I looked like because it was obviously not the reality of my situation.

I quit school when I was 15 or 16 in order to focus on my recovery, and my parents had me see a therapist twice a week. I always knew that I wanted to get better, but the negative side of my brain was so powerful at the time. It would always take over and keep me sick. In order to be loved and perfect, I thought I had to lose weight.


I grew up with my mum, dad, and little sister. My family life was honestly pretty amazing. I’m from a small town just outside of Melbourne, so I was always outside as a kid. I remember myself as always active and happy. I can’t really think of anything that wasn’t “good” about my upbringing. We are, to this day, quite a tight-knit family.

But as amazing as my family was, my parents were never super outwardly affectionate.


My mum and dad loved us, obviously, and we knew that, but I can’t remember ever hearing them say it. That probably triggered me a lot. I think that all I wanted was to feel loved.

My dad worked long hours when I was growing up, so I didn’t see him much during the week. On the weekends, when he was home, I felt a lot of pressure to impress him. I wanted his approval more than anything. It was probably compounded by the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist. I put a lot of pressure on myself as a kid to be perfect. I thought “perfect” was everything.


I think that at the end of the day, I was probably really lonely. I was depressed. I started cutting myself. I wouldn’t eat. I started to show signs of OCD behavior, like being scared that if I ate something at a certain time that wasn’t the same time I had eaten it the day before, I would get fat. I thought that in order to be loved and successful, I couldn’t be fat. My whole life was just constantly revolving around food, diet and body image.

I remember when my parents sat me down and said that they thought I had a problem. “You’re not going to school tomorrow. We’re going to take you into the city to see this lady, and she’s going to make you feel better.” I was really, really angry at them. I knew that I had a problem. I just didn’t want to do anything about it. I think I cried all night.

The next day I was taken to see this old Russian female therapist. She was so mean, and it actually made me rebel even more, because she was so cold and horrible. I don’t know if it worked for other girls with eating disorders, but the way she practiced and spoke to me didn’t make me feel good at all.


Mum and dad made me see the therapist for the next few months, and she would weigh me every time I saw her, which was terrifying. It’s like the worst thing that you could ever do to someone in my position. I started stuffing things like batteries and coins in my pockets to add more weight to the scale to throw them off and make them think I was getting better. I got away with that for quite a while.

But eventually my parents realized that this woman was not helping me, so they ended up sending me to a different person. My next therapist was the complete opposite of the first woman. She was gentle and caring, and her practice involved things like hypnotism and visualization. That’s how I got into meditation at quite a young age. It helped me so much and made me feel better about myself. She really changed my life, and I started to think that maybe there was light at the end of this dark tunnel.


I finally got to a stage where I was doing a little better, and my dad started encouraging me to find something to occupy my time. I had been out of school for a while at this point, and I was just sitting around the house with my thoughts, which wasn’t good. I think he thought a hobby might help keep me busy and aid in my recovery. The only thing that I was really passionate about at the time was fashion, but I didn’t know if I could do that or how I would do that. So, instead, I ended up signing up for beauty school, even though I wasn’t passionate about it.


I was about to start taking beauty school classes when I freaked out because I knew I didn’t want to be a beautician forever! I had this idea that I was locking myself into a profession for the rest of my life, and I knew that this was not the path for me. So, I enrolled in fashion school instead. It actually helped my recovery a lot, because I was doing something that I loved. I started to feel happier, and I threw myself back into the idea of recovery.


On the drive to class every day, I would pass this yoga studio. I had never been to a yoga studio before, but I was intrigued. It seemed like a good fit with the meditation work that I was doing in therapy. I decided to start taking classes and was hooked.

Yoga made me love myself again. Being more mindful and recognizing my thoughts helped me 100 percent. I felt really good, and the whole getting in tune, being in the now, and not stressing about the future or about what I was going to eat next was amazing. I was present all the time, and I really loved that about yoga.

I started noticing that the women in the yoga class with me were all wearing really old, raggedy, boyfriend-style clothes to practice in. There weren’t really any fashion-forward options for active wear available, and I thought to myself, “I’m going to start a yoga label.” I always knew that I wanted to start my own business, and it was probably going to be a clothing label. But I was always unsure about what kind of clothing I would design. This answered my question. I would be able to combine two things that I loved into one big project.


While I was figuring out the beginnings of my venture, I left Australia and went to Los Angeles to become trained in Bikram Yoga. I ended up staying in the States for a little while and teaching classes. When I returned to Australia after my stint in America, I started to focus on teaching yoga to help women and show them that yoga can heal the mind and body. I started my activewear yoga label on the side because I didn’t know how successful it would be. I moved to Bali briefly to find manufacturers to help launch my brand. My company Tully Lou is now six years old.

My life now is amazing. Now I am an entrepreneur and founder of a global activewear brand. I love seeing people in the streets wearing the brand. Knowing that I’m playing a part in them being healthy is really fulfilling for me.

I’m happy, but I’m not perfect. I do slip back. I struggle sometimes, and lately, I have been dealing with some anxiety. When I get anxious, I can see myself going back to old habits and that scares the hell out of me. But when I feel anxious now, I tell myself, “When you were sick, you were so unhappy. You hated yourself and life.” I never want to feel like that again.


I do a lot of influencer stuff on social media, and I struggle with that platform sometimes. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It has, for sure, helped me with my business and career, but it can be really triggering for me. The desire for perfectionism from my childhood that set this whole thing into motion can crop back up fast. I find it very hard to not compare myself to people that I see on social media. If I see a designer, and she’s got this ambassadorship or a runway show at Melbourne Fashion Week, I start thinking, “Why was it her and not me?”

I think a lot of Instagrammers do struggle with that, but no one talks about it. I wish they would because there are a lot of young girls and women that follow us. They think that our lives are perfect, and it’s not true. We all struggle with the same things that everyone else struggles with. Sometimes I just have to delete the app for a little while so that I don’t get tempted to compare myself to my peers.

I think that if someone is going through a hard time, they need to just hang in there, because if you work really hard on yourself and do all of the right things – whether it’s yoga, meditation, or even just being more mindful – you can and you will get out of it.