Warning: This entry talks about nudity. Not in a gross way or a perverted way. But some people are more sensitive, hence the warning.
I think a lot of what messes with our body image is self-imposed.
If we tell ourselves that our body isn't worth anything, then we have BECOME worthless at least mentally.
A lot of guys I know complain about their bodies not being as good as others. They have issues with body acceptance at the gym so badly that they won't even change in front of others. They wear a t-shirt in the pool. Or they complain openly about their bodies.
One bit of advice... we need to change how MENTALLY you see your body even more so than visually changing your body through the right clothing shapes and styles to maximize your body's appearance.
1) Make small goals to overcome some of your mentally-blocking self-defeating thoughts.
I used to be VERY self conscious at the gym at school. I wouldn't change in front of anyone. This stems from when I was a kid and I'd be teased in gym class. I'd find a far corner and change there, even as an adult. I loved to go swimming though and so I would have to get totally naked in the locker room. (I don't know why people ever swim with underwear on---I find it gross)
So I would start by changing far from others. Then I'd move to the same aisle as someone else---then change under a towel. Then I'd forget the towel and just change making sure no one saw "anything."
Eventually I got to the point I chose the closest locker area and just changed regardless if there were a dozen people around.
You know what I learned? No one was looking at me or judging me except for me. I had become the person who was teasing and taunting myself in the locker room because I told myself I wasn't good enough to be naked in front of others, even for the 4-5 seconds it took.
Maybe you have a similar problem. If so, make small goals to work on it.
The gym is just one way to set goals. Maybe you have other goals you need to work on. Start small and realistic---and you'll be fine. :)
2) Find beauty in your body.
Look hard and find something about yourself you DO like. Maybe you have nice eyes, good hair, or even skin tone.
If you dislike everything, find something small. And then tell yourself everyday how much you like that aspect of yourself.
I used to stand in the mirror and look at all my flaws. Later, I refused to look at flaws and look at things I liked. My image changed---I hadn't lost weight. I hadn't gotten more muscular. But instead I noticed how soft my hands are (I love lotions!)... I also noticed how my eyebrows are shaped perfectly and just need a bit of trimming to be flawless. I noticed my jawline which I get compliments on.
3) Write affirmations down. And never talk down about yourself!
Post them on your mirror. Things like "No matter what I look like, I'm still worth something to the most important person I know... ME!" or "I like myself no matter what."
Even if you don't fully believe those affirmations, tell yourself them. With time, you'll begin to change the way you see yourself.
Don't say negative comments about your appearance. Thumper said "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" Fill your life and mind with POSITIVE thoughts and you'll see POSITIVE reactions. Even if you don't always believe them. If you DO say something negative, say "But that's just fine by me! I'm still worth something!" at the end. WHY? Because even if you weigh 600 lbs, you're still a human and have the same worth as a supermodel. If I say "I am fat," then it is self defeating. If I say "I am fat, but I'm still worth something and its okay!" then it is self-accepting and much more positive.
To be honest, I never lost weight when I was self-defeating and full of negativity.
4) If you have issues "down there" with size, chances are most men feel the same way about them. There's not a lot of things one can do to enlarge their penis. I don't agree with it either. Losing weight will help since if you're skinnier, your size will appear longer. Shaving or trimming pubic hair also visually enlarges. However, size is most seen when flaccid. The guys you see at the gym who are larger probably are not AS different as you are when erect. If someone has a 2 inch flaccid penis, it might enlarge to 6 inches. If someone has a 4 inch flaccid penis, it might enlarge just to 6.5.
Penis envy sometimes actually comes from pornography. Since we see those men who are so hung and perfect. Well, one thing you might not realize is that most porn stars are actually very short (Sometimes only 5 foot 3 or 5 foot 4) which means that their penis appears larger. I'm over 6 feet tall so of course I don't appear as big in comparison to the rest of my body. Why? Because I'm tall!
I actually once saw a guy from my ward at the gym. He was NOT big. But he had a great body. Totally ripped. But I was bigger than he was. It didn't make me feel better than him. Actually, it made me realize something "We're all more alike than different... at least down there."
Even changing ourselves in minimal ways---such as visually by shaving---can alter how we see ourselves mentally. If you like body hair, then work on telling yourself a positive affirmation such as "I might not be as big as I'd like to be, but that is just fine! I'm me and I'm awesome!"
5) Some people have told me that going to nudist activities has helped them be more accepting of their bodies. I've met a lot of Mohos who have gone to nude beaches and felt more masculine. I've gone to a nude beach. It was great. Nudists tend to be very welcoming of others and non-judgmental. It allows the person to see others naked in a non-sexual sense just like going to a gym. If you're not comfortable being naked in front of people you know, you can always go to a beach by yourself when you're on vacation. No one will know you. No one will care. And you know who will also hopefully not care or notice? YOU! Since we need to stop this self-defeating attitude.
6) I used to think I had a big butt and would be embarrassed. Until one day a female latina friend came up to me and said "You know why latinas think you're hot? Because you have a butt and can dance!" After that, I learned to love my butt. Why? Change of perspective! I stopped seeing it as a flaw, and started loving it. I mentally changed how I saw myself.
7) Did I really just say I loved my butt? Geez. The things I admit to.
8) Don't compare yourself to models in magazines, actors on tv, etc. Why? Because they're photoshopped, altered, and pulled through a wringer to get to look like that. They're almost inhuman.
Compare yourself to no one. Just be happy within your own skin.
9) Remind yourself everyday that a pot of gold covered in rotting garbage has the same worth as a perfectly clean pot of gold. YOU have immense worth no matter what you look like, your size, shape, etc.
Learn to love yourself! Since this is the one body you'll have in this life. So you might as well love the way you look. :)