CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's the most common New Year's resolution: losing weight, and one Charlotte man's story is sure to inspire you; he's a personal trainer with a pretty unique back story.

Vinson Smith has spent the last seven years helping people transform their bodies.

“I love helping other people, that's the reason why I do it.”

He relates to his clients in a way few trainers do. When you meet the fit man, it's impossible to imagine that he, too, struggled with weight.

“All of a sudden I woke up one morning, and boom you're 500 pounds.”

Vinson will tell you he was always big. He weighed 336 pounds as a high school football player.

“I actually ate 100 wings in one sitting.”

But after he suddenly lost his dad in 2005 to lung cancer, things got out of control.

“I just kept gaining weight.”

At his cousin's wedding, he could barely walk down the aisle.

“It was excruciating pain just standing there, and I was sweating I couldn't wait 'til we got to reception so I could sit down.”

He realized he wanted more.

“The turning point for me [was] if I wanted a wife, kids, a career, well, how many people at 500 pounds do you see who have that?

He started simply.

"Honestly, I started walking from stop sign to stop sign."

Then he started working out-- working to become a personal trainer.

Vinson lost 280 pounds. It took him almost 10 years to get to where he is now and he's been at this weight for a year.

“More than anything I’m happy to be around. I’m not supposed to be here. So many times I heard from doctors, 'Do you want to live to see 20?' So I realize I’m not supposed to be here but I am and I’m thankful.”

He says it's a battle he still fights every day but he’s found a different way to cope, instead of using food, now he uses exercise.