My ultimate immersion into wellness at Four Seasons Maui May 20-26



Like many Americans, I’m overstressed, overweight – and just over it.

And it’s not surprising given the sedentary life of busy professionals. Combined that with a passion for fine dining and luxury travel, and you get a gut. But that’s the least of my worries.

I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, joining the quickly growing numbers of Americans suffering from this disease. Approximately 29 million people in the U.S. or 9.3 percent have diabetes. Many health professionals are calling this alarming trend a national epidemic.

The disease runs in the family with uncles and aunts dying from it. And I thought my daily intake of prescription drugs would solve it. It hasn’t.

That’s why I’m over the moon finding a unique program that will address my illness along with other ailments and issues at the root of diet, obesity along with other physical ailments.

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The Four Seasons Maui is debuting a one-of-kind program featuring an ultimate health, fitness and wellness retreat — and the best part is its splendid location on pristine Wailea Beach.

The first draw for me is that it’s a the ultimate destination of exquisite beauty, tranquility and relaxation. The luxury resort also boasts different physical activities on land or in sea.

I love going on whale-watching excursions and snorkeling in the crystal clear water near the crescent-shaped underwater volcano of Molokini. Taking the kayak and traditional outrigger canoe out to sea brings me a bit of peace as I’m gliding through the deep azure waters.

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On land, I enjoy taking a garden walk with the resort’s botanist who uses plants as the canvas for his vibrant storytelling of Hawaiian traditions. But for me, the crown gem in the Four Season’s royal crown is the private luxury cabanas in the adults-only Serenity Pool where I can do absolutely nothing.

The other draw? The artisan attention to food and beverages is spectacular. And who could not mention the resort’s award-winning personalized customer service – the cornerstone of any Four Seasons?

The Four Seasons Maui also is special to me because it’s literally steps from the beach.

It’s where I find my respite away from the lighting speed of the six-second news cycle fueled by texts, emails and social media channels.

It’s also where I hope to find my way toward a healthy me.

In general, we often indulge while on vacation and I, in particular, overindulge in the culinary arts – without balancing my gourmet food intake and the needed output of regular exercise.

The resort’s health and wellness consultant, Dr. Mark Emerson, has come up with an intriguing program that will inspire guests to learn and embrace a fitness, wellness and nutrition lifestyle while experiencing a luxury vacation.

The all-inclusive ultimate health and wellness program includes:

  • 6 nights accommodations at Four Seasons Resort Maui
  • Comprehensive health analysis with blood lab, nutritional evaluation, report of findings and health-risk assessment in a private one-on-one setting
  • 5 days of insightful health and wellness presentations covering nutrition, chronic disease, weight issues, food addictions, cravings, stress management and motivation, and practical application tips
  • A post immersion follow-up consultation with Dr. Emerson
  • Event workbook
  • 3 healthy cooking classes from the Four Seasons Maui chefs
  • A wellness-oriented excursion
  • Daily healthy, fresh and delicious meals

My first wellness experience with Dr. Emerson was on my first visit to the five-star resort a few years ago at the Four Seasons Maui’s splendid spa where I received a noninvasive iLipo, a modern treatment to trim the waistline.

Check out the audio interview I conducted with Dr. Emerson while receiving the treatment that had surprising results — without any pain or discomfort.

Dr. Emerson explains that just like learning a new language, “if you immerse yourself into the country and culture, learning becomes more rapid, fun and enriching. The same applies to health and healing.”

The six-day timeframe allows for positive physiological changes to take place. “The delicious, health promoting, nutrient rich meals served daily begin to break food cravings, aid in weight loss, reset your system and improve your health,” he added.

Dr. Michael Greger, Chef Chad Sarno, Dr. Michael Klaper and Chef Craig Dryhurt will join Dr. Mark Emerson to provide expert consultation during the six-day wellness retreat May 20 to May 26 at the Four Seasons Maui.

Dr. Michael Greger, Chef Chad Sarno, Dr. Michael Klaper and Chef Craig Dryhurt will join Dr. Mark Emerson to provide expert consultation during the six-day wellness retreat May 20 to May 26 at the Four Seasons Maui.

Dr. Emerson will join a team of renowned health and wellness experts and culinary chefs:

  • Michael Greger, MD, physician, author and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety and public health issues. He is currently Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society.
  • Michael Klaper, MD, physician, author, teacher and speaker on diet and health. He is a physician in private practice.
  • Chad Sarno, chef, who has served as culinary media spokesperson for Whole Foods Market’s global healthy eating program and is currently Vice President, Plant-Based Education, Rouxbe Online Culinary School.
  • Craig Dryhurst, chef, Four Seasons Resort Maui, who designed the Resort’s Wellness Menu in collaboration with Dr. Emerson.

In preparation for this immersion retreat May 20 to May 26, I turned to celebrity fitness trainer and TV personality Brett Hoebel for advice on the first steps on wellness journey.


I met Hoebel last year after I spoke at a conference about luxury travel during the Microsoft-sponsored Social Media Week in Los Angeles.

Hoebel has starred in NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” has been featured by Dr. Oz and has trained many celebrities, including Victoria Secret models. Hoebel keeps a busy schedule with his A-list of celebrity clients and makes special TV appearances across the U.S.

The author of “The 20-Minute Body was working in New York City for the week but made time for me as soon as he arrived back in Santa Monica where I met with him. We talked about ways I could begin preparing for my journey back to health and fitness.

FS Maui Wellness with Brett Hoebel from Ted Nguyen on Vimeo.

We made the quick iPhone video above the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In a sense, the setting was symbolic of my journey away from the cliffs of despair yet grounded with information and the inspiration that I needed to navigate across the Pacific toward the Hawaiian islands where I will experience this immersion retreat to hopefully extend my life — and rejuvenate my soul.

Taking 20-day fitness challenge and giveaway contest for five lucky readers

I’ve been reading Hoebel’s incredible book that’s filled with sensible tips and achievable strategies for health, exercise and diet.

I love it so much that I’m executing a 20-day plan as outlined, beginning May 1 — exactly 20 days before I arrive in Maui.

I will live tweeting and share my activities during this 20-day effort following the book. And Hoebel is generously donating five personally signed books and online fitness videos to five lucky winners.

Just enter in the giveaway and make sure to follow my fitness preparation with the hashtag #FSMauiHealth.

Again, please thank your team for the tremendous help. I couldn’t have done this without your assistance and counsel!
To learn how you can join me on this ultimate luxury health and wellness retreat, click on Dr. Emerson’s website at the Four Seasons Maui.

I will be sharing live updates on my fitness and wellness journey on social media with the hashtag #FSMauiHealth. Catch the live tweets, Instagram posts and live stream on Periscope.

I’d also love to know any health, wellness and food tips from you. Please feel free to share in the comment section below.