The purpose of the present study was to characterize the time course of adaptation (i.e., circulating metabolites and hormones, fat pad mass, lipoprotein lipase) to a high-fat diet in obesity-prone (OP) and obesity-resistant (OR) male Wistar rats. Delineation of OP and OR was based on body weight gain (upper tertile for OP; lower tertile for OR) after 1 wk on a high-fat diet (60% of kcal from corn oil). Rats were killed after 1, 2, or 5 wk of the dietary period. Increased body weight and percent body fat in OP rats at 1 wk could not be accounted for by increased retroperitoneal or epididymal fat pad weight. Plasma nonesterified fatty acids and triglycerides, as well as blood concentrations of glucose, lactate, and glycerol, were similar throughout the study. Plasma insulin was significantly greater in OP vs. OR rats and low-fat diet (LFD; 20% of kcal from corn oil) controls at 5 wk only, and blood beta-hydroxybutyrate (mM) was significantly higher in OR compared with OP and LFD rats at 1, 2, and 5 wk. Lipoprotein lipase mRNA and activity were significantly greater in epididymal fat pad and significantly lower in gastrocnemius muscle of OP vs. OR rats at 1 wk. Results suggest that early (i.e., 1 wk) differences in body weight and fat weight between OP and OR rats are not due to fat deposition in retroperitoneal or epididymal fat depots, and tissue-specific changes in LPL (increase in epididymal fat pad and decrease in gastrocnemius muscle) that occur in OP compared with OR rats after 1 wk on a high-fat diet provide a metabolic environment favoring fat storage.