What Are Flanks On A Woman And How Can You Deal With Them?

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 28, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Christiana Mikesch, CPT
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As a certified personal trainer and holistic nutritionist, I frequently guide women looking to reshape their bodies, often focusing on reducing belly and flank fat, areas I've tackled both professionally and in my own fitness journey.

It’s most often about getting rid of excess body fat around the belly, especially the goal of losing flank fat.

It’s also often one area that is most difficult to target with exercises, and there are certain things that many women do that won’t do much to slim down this area.

So, what are the flanks on a woman?

Let’s take a look and find out how to properly deal with them.

Quick Summary

  • Flanks, located on each side of the belly, are prone to fat accumulation and can vary in fat content among different body types, like ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.
  • To effectively deal with flank fat in women, combine a balanced diet with regular exercise targeting the area from the waist to the lower back.
  • Utah University research indicates that processed carbs and sugar cause sudden increases in glucose, leading to fat redistribution around the belly and thighs.
  • In my professional opinion, focusing on lifestyle changes, particularly in diet, exercise, and taking fat burners supplements is key to reducing flank fat without resorting to surgical procedures like liposuction.

Where Are The Flanks On A Female Body?

A woman pinching her flanks

The flanks are on each side of the belly, stretching from the waist to the lower back, between the hip bone and rib cage.

They're prone to fat accumulation, varying with body types like ectomorphs (less fat), mesomorphs (balanced), and endomorphs (more fat).

Excess belly fat is not only visible but can cause flank pain due to weakened muscles that struggle to support your body.

To counter this, a mix of a balanced diet and regular exercise reduces excess fat, easing the strain on your flanks.

What Causes Weight Gain In Flanks?

In my experience, both as a health coach and personally, flanks gain weight from fat cell accumulation and water retention.

Lack of water or electrolytes like potassium, I've found, can lead to easier-to-resolve water retention compared to fat cells.

According to the Mayo Clinic, diet and inactivity are key culprits, with alcohol, sugar, and simple carbs causing blood sugar spikes, leading to fat storage around the belly and hips [1].

Overeating and a sedentary lifestyle make these fat cells expand and multiply. Tackling these with healthy eating and regular exercise is essential.


4 Ways To Avoid The Love Handles

A person eating a strict vegetable diet

You can reduce belly fat accumulation and not have to resort to flank liposuction by understanding how simple changes in your lifestyle will impact your flanks.

1. Diet

First up, cut processed carbs and sugar.

Drawing from my holistic nutrition background and Utah University research, I've seen how these spikes in glucose lead to fat redistribution around the belly and thighs in my clients and myself [2].

And your body will store fat mostly around your belly and thighs.

I always tell my clients that 70% of their weight loss will come down to what and how much they eat.

2. Aerobic Exercise

Performing an aerobic exercise

The other thing you’ll need to do to lose fat is a regular cardio routine.

Incorporate regular cardio that gets your heart pumping. Limit calorie intake and exercise 3–4 days a week to prevent fat storage and fuel exercise effectively.

“So while carbohydrates can inhibit fat burning, putting the onus on carbohydrates themselves (instead of excessive calories) as the cause behind fat gain is incorrect.”

- Kamal Patel, Editor & Co-Founder of Examine.com

3. Posture and Core Strength

Maintain good posture and a strong core.

Drawing from my group instructing experience, I emphasize to my clients how this significantly reduces flank strain and supports spinal alignment, lessons I apply in my own fitness regimen.

4. Supplements

Another part of a healthy weight-loss routine should be supplements that help to lose weight in a natural way. I’m not talking about those dodgy pills you might see on social media.

There are natural supplements that you can take that boost your metabolism so that you burn off some extra calories and avoid a lot of hunger cravings.


Does a Tummy Tuck Include Flanks?

Yes, a tummy tuck can include flanks, but some surgeons will refer to this as an extended tummy tuck. It involves the same procedure but may require additional incisions to get all at the fat reserves.

Are Heavy Flanks a Sign of Bad Health?

Yes, heavy flanks are a sign of bad health and a poor lifestyle. This kind of belly fat is most commonly down to eating lots of sugar and not engaging in enough physical exercise to counteract those sugar rushes.


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045809
  2. https://healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/health-library/all/2018/08/how-sugar-converts-fat
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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