Why Diets & Exercise Don’t Work for Weight Loss And Bloating

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Doing all the things to change your weight, lose fat, build muscle or getting rid of bloating? Eating clean and exercise will only get you so far.  

In German New Medicine, weight and body composition resistance and bloating is related to something called the “Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict.” 

It happens when we are in a healing phase of one biological conflict in our lives that has seemingly just “resolved” and we have a secondary ONGOING, CURRENT active conflict, specific to the kidney collecting tubules (more on this in a moment). 

For example, we moved to Austin, Texas to start over and left a bad relationship behind in Seattle, Washington (resolution), yet, at the same time, we feel out of place, alone and separated from our community (ongoing current conflict active) in our new town. 

In the Kidney Conflict, we are functioning in both the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system – and this can be extremely depleting!

As a result, the Kidney Collecting Tubules come out to play!

Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict 101

Bloating - Doctor Talking To His Patient

Our kidneys are responsible for electrolyte and fluid balance, adrenal gland regulation, blood sugar regulation, healthy blood pressure and filtering both blood and toxins and hormones out through the urine. 

The kidney collecting tubules have both absorptive and excretion qualities. Hence, the Kidney Collecting Tubules Conflict is also known as a “water retention conflict”, where the kidney collecting tubules ‘tighten up’ and there is minimum water (urine) excretion, maximum water retention and elevated kidney enzymes, blood sugar, blood pressure or toxic overload when in deep conflict.

The result? 

  • Unwanted weight gain (or in some cases unwanted weight loss if completely depleted and losing water).
  • Body fat resistance and poor muscle gain.
  • Bloating. Constipation. Gas.
  • Headaches.
  • Bodily swelling.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Diabetes and dysglycemia.
  • Increased environmental and food sensitivities.

This syndrome actually amplifies all symptoms – not just weight and bloating; it can also exacerbate your personal “achilles’ heels” of health (from hair loss to brain fog to acne, thyroid problems, low energy, constipation). 

The syndrome creates increased fluid retention, swelling, effusion, organ enlargement, ascites, obstruction, occlusion, inflammation, pain, pain management issues, misinterpretations, hospitalization and complications! Complications! Complications!

The Root Cause of Weight Gain, Body Fat & Bloating: AIRE

What specific types of “conflict” cause the Kidney Collecting Tubules to become over active? After all, stress is inevitable in life and not all stress will trigger this predicament. 

The KCT conflict or “water conflict” stems from an evolutionary conflict, specifically from a “fish out of water” event or season in our lives. 

When a fish is washed ashore, it is immediately tossed into a life threatening predicament (water deprivation) where its very existence is threatened as it is out of it’s element and elements.

In order to prevent the organism from drying out, the cells of the kidney tubules quickly proliferate with the biological purpose of closing the excretion filter so that water can be withheld to give the organism a chance to survive. In other words: Under the stress of being out of your element, the body holds onto water, body fat, anything it can.

Instant activation of this water retention program is vital, because without water all metabolic processes stop functioning.*

The organism–the fish or our bodies– will retain water so it does not perish – an age old survival mechanism. The intelligent purpose of the Kidney Tubule program is to assist YOU (the “fish”)) during the distress until the next wave can bring YOU (the “fish”) back into its familiar environment. As humans we can experience that feeling of being a fish out of water or being separated from our group.

The conflict of the kidney collecting tubules is often called the AIRE conflict (Abandonment, Isolation, Refugee, Existence) 

We need AIR(E) to survive and the kidney collecting tubules are all about survival and our existence.

If we are abandoned, isolated, a refugee or contemplating our purpose–without any resources to “deal” with it…then you can better believe that we are stressed and our body feels it!

No wonder the majority of people–3 out of 4 people–have some sort of gut-related health issue, like bloating or constipation and that same amount of people (3 out of 4) are dehydrated at any given time. The AIRE (Abandonment, Isolation, Refugee, Existence)  conflicts are in our face throughout our lives. 

Let’s briefly review each of these. 

Abandonment Conflict

Bloating - Woman Experiencing Stress

ABANDONMENT conflicts are all about being left behind, deserted, discarded, separated, neglected, overlooked, banished, undesired and even cast out. 

Abandonment does not need to be physical – we all know a parent, friend or partner who has emotionally withdrawn their love.

A classic example is your middle school crush…that didn’t like you back. He liked your best friend instead. Or, all those times you got picked last for dodgeball, or not invited to the birthday party. Overlooked.

The abandonment or “fish out of water” conflict happens early too. Within the first few minutes of entry into the world, our umbilical cord is cut and we are shuttled away from mom so the doctors and nurses can perform measurements and evaluations.

The same conflict can happen with babysitters and daycare within the first few months of life. Where did mom and dad go? Who are these strangers? Why am I alone? 

Another example would be a kid coming home from school only to find out that dad has left the nest due to a divorce.

Fast forward to college–another goodbye. I’ll never forget hugging my mom and dad “goodbye”, thinking, “I’m on my own now.” No wonder the Freshman 15 and eating disorders happen during this season. Abandonment is a “fish out of water conflict”–a water morsel we cannot digest or swallow.

At the end of the lifespan, the same thing happens as many people age, and they are shuttled off to nursing homes and assisted living homes, or their partners and friends begin to exit the earth. Abandonment. Left behind.

No wonder gut microbiome health sharply declines during this season, including the onset of SIBO, bloating and old farts, and weight shifts–either loss or in some cases gain (one too many servings of Jell-O pudding at dinner). 

Isolation Conflict

Bloating - Isolation Conflict, Woman In Pain

ISOLATION conflicts are similar to abandonment and are all about feeling alone, secluded and emotionally unsupported. On your own, no one to lean on or hold you up. No strong sense of community. 

Some examples include: parents passing away, kids leaving the nest, friends coming and going, moving to a new city or a new school, breaking up with a partner or marriage. 

The mobile society of the twenty-first century where we no longer establish roots and strong ties. The extended family is so often a thing of the past.

Hospitalization and chronic health issues can also isolate us. As can fame and fortune–think about all the childhood stars you loved, who grow up to develop extra love around their waist? (The Backstreet Boys reunion tour was not the same Backstreet Boys I knew)! 

Simply having our own viewpoints can be isolating–from how we choose to address our health issues (holistic vs. conventional), to our political views, our religious views, or worldview. At times we can feel like the black sheep. Especially if our family disagrees.

The 2020 pandemic highlighted a whole new meaning of the ISOLATION conflict, and consequently the Quarantine 15 and eating disorders were also on the rise. 

And technology has brought a whole new Isolation conflict previously unknown by humans until the past several decades.

Technologically, we are more connected than at any previous time in our history, yet so very alone. We can have thousands of Facebook friends or Instagram followers – yet no true support.

Refugee Conflict

A REFUGEE conflict is all about feeling like we are wandering, without roots, without a home or a nest. We are out of our element and surroundings. Out of our place.

A refugee conflict can occur anytime we are thrown out of the familiar surroundings of home, work, or relationships and family – moving, travel, a change in family or friendship.

Have you ever traveled and felt constipated or more bloated? Or even gained a few pounds or lost a few pounds? Maybe you attributed it to flying on a plane or eating saltier foods. For some people, travel cues the “refugee conflict” or water retention or loss conflict. And as soon as you travel back home the symptoms reside.

Another example would be the military “brat” or “gyspsy” who moved 10 times or more with her family growing up. I’ve seen several folks with this background over the years. They feel like they are without a home, and struggle with bloating, water retention, eating disorders and stubborn health issues in later life.

Primarily, because during their most formidable years, they never felt settled and never learned how to establish roots. Internally, they are refugees, and consequently, in conflict active. 

You can also feel like a refugee if you get displaced from your home due to toxic mold, a fire, a divorce, a new job, a bad roommate. Boom. Without a nest. 

Existence Conflict

Bloating - Woman Having Stressful Day At Work

An EXISTENCE conflict occurs when we feel our very life, even our livelihood is threatened – by a diagnosis–like cancer or another health issue, an accident, an addiction or alcoholism, a job loss or career shift, a recession or bankruptcy, drowning in debt, loss of a home to foreclosure, a fire or mold (refugee conflict as well).

It also can occur with natural disasters–like a flood, near drowning, a tornado, a hurricane. Something in which we are fearing for our life. 

The EXISTENCE conflict is about losing everything – our existence, our livelihood is at stake.

There you have it: Abandonment, Isolation, Refugee, Existence

If you struggle with weight issues, water retention, headaches and brain fog, blood sugar imbalances, hypertension, bloating, constipation, gas and thirst or dehydration (no matter how clean you eat, how much water you drink or how much you exercise), check in with yourself to see if AIRE is at play. 

The overweight/obesity, heart disease (hypertension) and diabetes epidemics are due, in great part, to the chronicity of this AIRE program–especially if diet, exercise and thyroid or hormonal imbalances are being monitored.

We can retain upwards of 40 to 50 pounds of just water alone when both kidneys are active with conflict. This is weight that will not come off through proper diet, exercise or supplementation. 

The Kidney Collecting Tubule Conflict is an evolutionary survival program expressing itself. It will not change until the psyche–our inner awareness and understanding– is able to identify and release the specific conflict(s) at play. Upon our psyche’s release, the Kidney Collecting Tubules will “loosen” and the water will be released.

How to Resolve Our Conflicts

Bloating - Older Couple Doing Exercise Together

The key theme for resolving AIRE issues?

First and foremost: Increase awareness.

Knowledge is power, and if we are experiencing the side effects of a Kidney Collecting Tubules conflict (like weight issues, increased body fat, decreased muscle, bloating, constipation, headaches, water retention), the first step is to ask, “Why?”

Why do I feel this way? 

Are there any AIRE (Abandonment, Isolation, Refugee, Existence)  conflicts present? 

This simple knowing and realization can be enough for the brain to say, “Thank you for finally acknowledging this stress so I can finally heal!”

We make peace and call the “bluff” of the conflict at play, and by “playing it cool,” a new cellular adaptation response unfolds. We are no longer “a fish out of water” and we realize we can find our way back to shore. 

Finding community–family, friends, neighbors, newfound friends in strangers–plays a huge role in resolving AIRE conflicts. Primarily because most of the AIRE variables have to do with feeling alone, unsafe or uneasy, unsupported and disconnected

Lastly, during the “healing” phase (the time when your symptoms are most present–like bloating and gas and shifts in weight), you can physically support the kidneys with these strategies:

Kidney Support Strategies

  • Hydration with purified, filtered, energizing water (for absorption), like spring water or reverse osmosis water with mineral drops or Kangan water
  • Kidney-boosting foods: cranberries and berries, seaweed, dark leafy greens, bok choy, wild caught fatty fish, green tea, extra virgin olive oil, lemons/lime, beets, carrots, grapes, cabbage, raw honey, watermelon, dates, foods with B6 (pasture raised and grass-fed meats and poultry), sea salt. 
  • Cut the takeout food. Most restaurants use vegetable oils and table salts. A double whammy for poor kidney health. 
  • Stay active. Especially walking. 
  • Detox excessive supplementation. Less is more so your kidneys don’t have to process so much. 
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