What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular patterns of eating in modern day culture, not to mention a tool that has been used by our ancestors for generations. Intermittent fasting is a practice that is easily adaptable to your lifestyle and filled with a variety of potential health benefits.

If you are looking to explore the health benefits of fasting, intermittent fasting offers the perfect place to start. At the Sanctuary, intermittent fasting is something that our guests effortlessly engage in. We rise with the sun and sleep with the moon, allowing us to naturally cultivate an intermittent fasting practice.

Intermittent fasting is an excellent practice to enhance your health and wellbeing. For those that are seeking further benefits, we also offer tailored juice cleanses and water fasts.

What is intermittent fasting? 

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but a pattern of eating. Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular eating strategy where you alternate between set periods of eating with set periods of completely abstaining from food. At the sanctuary we follow the schedule of 16/8. This means that we eat during an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours. 

How does intermittent fasting work?

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat. When we are constantly digesting food, our bodies are using energy. When we give our body a break from digesting, it allows our bodies to direct energy to cellular regeneration and repair.

Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years, he explains that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive — and thrive — for long periods without eating. 

At the Sanctuary this way of eating is inspired by nature and our ancestors. The purpose is not to view this as a diet or restriction, but as a way of connecting to a natural circadian rhythm. 

Benefits of intermittent fasting:

Reduced Inflammation: Several human studies demonstrate fasting’s effectiveness at fighting oxidative stress and inflammation—two drivers of aging and chronic disease.

Improved heart health: fasting individuals also experienced a drop in homocysteine levels—a major cardiovascular disease risk factor—and improvements in their total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.

Improved gut health and diversity: researchers say intermittent fasting may elicit changes in the gut that are protective against metabolic syndrome. 

Improved brain health: Anecdotal claims abound regarding intermittent fasting’s ability to boost mental energy, focus, and cognitive function.

Beyond physical benefits, intermittent fasting has immense mental benefits. When we eliminate the energy that it takes to plan meals, prepare meals, and so on, we free energy to implement in much more profound areas.

How to Intermittent Fast at home:

  • Begin with a 12-hour eating period and 12-hour fast. Perhaps you have your first meal at 8am, and finish your last by 8pm. Gradually increase your fast as you feel comfortable.
  • Tap into energy sources outside of food: Ask yourself, what other modalities energize me? Meditation offers an incredibly energizing outlet. 
  • Food for thought- have you ever had an experience where you were so joyous that food was the last thing on your mind? Find ways to tap into this energy in your daily life.

Final takeaway

Intermittent fasting is a very accessible and customizable way to improve the quality of your wellbeing. Intermittent fasting allows you to become more in-tune with your body alongside welcoming many physical and mental benefits. Join us at the Sanctuary to share this practice of intermittent fasting, or practice in the peace of your own home.

With Love,

Sen Wellness


Davia is our Retreat Specialist and manages enquiries and bookings for those interested in visiting us at the Sanctuary. Her in-depth knowledge of the wellness programmes we offer means she will be able to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Davia is also Clinic Manager at Sen Wellness London, ensuring the smooth running of our holistic hub in the medical district of Harley Street, where we offer osteopathy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and community events as well as retreats in the UK and Europe.

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Elisa Brugnera
Elisa Brugnera
I just came back after spending a week at Sen Wellness, and the experience was above my expectations.The location is beautiful, immerse in nature and with an amazing beach available.Yoga and meditation classes vary every day, and I can say I learnt so much.The main feedback I’d like to leave is about the team: all of them did everything in their power to make us guests happy, they personally cared about our wellbeing.I can say I came back relaxed, but also changed and nourished internally, I’m looking at problems with a different perspective.I am already planning to be back!
Pia Schmoeckel
Pia Schmoeckel
All I could have asked for in an Ayurveda retreat. Beautiful place and nature, with lovely people and a lot of thought and intention in the programs.
Richard S
Richard S
hat an incredible place and lovely team and special stay. Situated between the beach and the lagoon you are surrounded by wildlife and feel completely isolated from the outside world. The treatments, food and yoga/meditation work together to ensure an incredibly restorative and nourishing stay. Ten days seemed a good length of time to stay to maximise the benefits.Thank you to all the team at Sen for a magical stay
Mithi Thaya
Mithi Thaya
Heaven on earth. A must-visit if you wish to disconnect and self-connect.
I came for the second time to this place and it can never disappoint… a truly healing place where you can connect with yourself and with others. I have met some amazing people here both times I have come. The staff really care and worry about you. Thank you ♥️ the first time’s review (last year’s) is just below which still applies.Mind-blowing experience. I am so happy I came to this place - I was planning for 5 days and stayed 10! All the team made me feel like home since I arrived. The kitchen staff are super nice and the food is amazing and healthy! The doctor and masseurs listened to me and gave me a therapy adapted to my needs from the very first day. The doctor, managers and reception were also always there for everything I needed. The yoga teachers are amazing healers that guided me through my journey in the sanctuary and for my home. I know I’ll apply their yoga and spiritual teachings in mind for my daily life. On top of that, a monk comes every week to have a 1-to-1 session with you. Personally, this was a very productive session for me!Moreover, the mini pool in the beach has an amazing sunshine - I’d recommend everyone to go one morning when in here!Amazing place to reconnect with myself which is what I was looking for. I’ll definitely come back😊
Elaine Lynskey
Elaine Lynskey
The most nourishing, relaxing and healing week I have ever experienced in the most beautiful setting!! 7-day Ayurvedic and Yoga retreat left me feeling like a new person. I will definitely be returning.
Jill Long
Jill Long
My two trips to the Sanctuary were equally special. Both were in January, one in 2016 and then again in 2020. It was a perfect way to start the year. The sheer beauty of this part of Sri Lanka is restorative in itself, but when coupled with the luxury and care of the Sanctuary, it becomes a deeply healing experience. I will go back again as soon as I can.
Di Sherlock
Di Sherlock
I arrived exhausted and frazzled from a flight that had lost my bag in transit with the clothes I left London in and raging sinuses from the plane's insanely fierce aircon. Within days the sinus infection was healed with Ayurveda. This was the start of a 10 day healing journey that was pure magic. I stayed in an eco cabana - bed super comfy! - waking up to amazing birdsong. The nature here is lush (bring your mozzie spray!) , the complex open and airy, the food delicious (mainly veggie). Everyone on the team - from the Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners, the amazing manager, the chef and his crew, the yoga teachers to the boys who do the cleaning know what they're doing and radiate positive energy. Days are structured but the vibe is relaxed, open and easy. The Cacao ceremony was amazing. The Fire ceremony also. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
Emma Chadwick
Emma Chadwick
I came to the sanctuary at a difficult time for me personally. I came home feeling mentally and physically restored. It was just the tonic for me.The sanctuary is set in a beautiful and peaceful location, a stone’s throw from the sea and never-ending empty beaches.I loved the daily yoga sessions - I had a brilliant teacher the week I was there - which has an open front so we often saw monkeys swinging by.But it were the Ayurvedic treatments and meals, made with fresh local produce, that were out of this world.The communal dining is such a great idea, particularly if you come on your own like I did. And the sanctuary is run by a fantastic and caring team who went out of their way to make my experience truly unforgettable.I really do hope to return again one day.
Stephanie U
Stephanie U
Sen Wellness is really a Sanctuary where you can really connect back to you, your body and nature. The 10 days Spring Retreat was so fantastic, the breathing, moving and the food was always great. The location is far off from everything and you pretty much have the beach to yourself. All the animals like baby turtles, monkeys, squirrels, peacocks combined with nature was just magical. Also all the staff took great care of everyone induvidually. I will definitly be back!!
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