Growing up, I was always the shortest kid in my class - usually by a fairly significant margin. I grew so slowly in fact that I didn't stop inching upwards until halfway through my university studies, when I reached my adult height at 5'11".
On top of my height, I was also always quite thin. I never qualified as underweight or unhealthily skinny, but my body was never a source of much pride. About two years ago I started reading up on weight-training and nutrition. I have a tendency to heavily research topics that interest me, and this one did. I stuck to a training schedule, and focused on eating properly. I found it exciting when I began to gain in strength, and size soon followed. Now, though my body is still not at my ideal, I feel stronger and much more confident.
I feel that in recent years, western society has made a lot of progress in confronting the negative body image issues facing young women (which is fantastic), but I feel men are often neglected because of the social stigma surrounding public discussion of male insecurities. I've always been a fan of this site, and it was heartening to discover today that they have added a men's section. The fact is, men deal with body image issues too, just different ones.
I know that once I started my journey down the road to improving my appearance, I began to (at first) develop new insecurities about my body. The masculine ideal portrayed in the media requires such shocking dedication to training and nutritional management, it scarcely seems possible. BUT. I have come to a reasonably balanced perspective at this point where I can acknowledge my flaws and work to overcome them, while at the same time recognizing that these weaknesses don't define me as an individual.
Fitness has become both a hobby and a lifestyle for me, and I find it to be enormously rewarding. It's one thing to be happy as you are, but it's another to make excuses for why you can't change. I encourage you to research healthy ways to improve your body image - whether that means a shift in perspective or a shift in habits is up to you. I found that a change in the latter produced change in the former.
The My Body Gallery project needs men! We need your help to develop the project and build a collection of photos that will help more men see themselves more clearly. Upload a picture of your full body. Our photo submission process also allows you to block out part of the image to protect your identity, if you wish. Please note that you must be 18 to upload a photo.