When you lose fat, you take out the content of fat cells (triglycerides – which are broken into free fatty acids) and then oxidize those fatty acids in the mitochondria.
This itself accounts for reduction in fat mass, but it doesn’t constitute a reduction in adipocytes (fat cells). The fat cells are still there, they just sit (relatively) empty, and ready to absorb glucose to be stored as triglycerides.
On the positive side, there is such a thing called apoptosis, which refers to those fat cells self-destructing. Doing so would mean a reduction in the potential to store fat as no vast quantities of adipocytes would just sit there empty and ready to absorb.
On the negative side, this is not a straight forward process and it seems we don’t know enough to confidently say we got this cat in the bag.
How to get apoptosis
Current science on triggering apoptosis is limited, and we do follow new studies closely to see what we can learn. That being said, we do know a fair bit already, perhaps enough to help you in your journey to eliminate those empty fat cells.